Living your daily life as a wheelchair-user is challenging enough, but for some young \\people pursuing further education is a step too far, especially if that entails living and studying away from home. Online education offers an opportunity for students who use wheelchairs to follow dreams that would otherwise have seemed out of reach.
For a student in a wheelchair, just making it to campus and into a classroom can be problematic. Not all universities, especially the older ones, offer specially adapted accommodation or ease of access to lecture theatres, social areas and the like. Some students may have a full-time carer who will require adjoining accommodation too, and this is not always easy to find.
However, online classes allow all students to work from anywhere with internet access, their own bedroom for instance. This removes the need for travel and special accommodation, and takes away a large amount of the stress these challenges can cause. The computer and workstation will already be suited to the student’s individual needs; it’s just a matter of logging in and working.
Stress free zone
Even in today’s all-inclusive society, students can still feel uncomfortable and self-conscious in a classroom environment. This leads to stress, which in turn can cause loss of focus on the course work. Distance learning removes this stress whilst still allowing students to socialise through forums and webinars.
With the exception of online webinars and tutorials, distance learning offers totally flexible study times.
Hospital appointments, time out for physiotherapy sessions and the like can be accommodated without disrupting the student’s progress or causing them to miss lectures and fall behind their classmates.
Easier social interaction
Whilst it’s true to say that some students dislike the decreased element of physical social interaction that distance learning comes with, this can work to the advantage of the wheelchair-user, depending upon their lifestyle.
Course discussions usually happen online via a discussion board. Many students find it preferable and easier to type and post their comments, than to participate verbally in a classroom situation. Wheelchair-users are not faced with the prospect of having to travel to and from discussion groups which may be problematic.
Distance learning offers students, the opportunity to undertake courses that would once have been beyond their reach as the fight continues for fully accessible colleges and universities.
Image source: trincoll.edu