Online education offers up a host of benefits to students with disabilities, indicating to American educational institutions that there is an urgent need for more accessible learning opportunities.
For one, online education is far more convenient for those with limited mobility as it eliminates the need to travel.
A home office, on the other hand, can be tailored to suit the student’s needs while also saving them money on travel.
Online classes should also be designed in the most flexible manner possible to accommodate students with various disabilities.
Online courses also allow for more flexible interactions, giving students the option of communicating with their professor or classmates with an audio file instead of having to type.
Assignments and activities that build upon each other to result in a large project at the end of the term also give students the chance to work at their own pace, which is not always possible in classroom environments.
Online courses can be thought of as great levelers, as they allow students to keep their disability private if they choose to. With many courses already being based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), there may never be a need for a student with a disability to have to disclose personal information to classmates, fostering a sense of comfort and community.
Technical aptitude is also developed through online education, equipping students with disabilities with some highly sought-after skills.
Experience with online learning can also open up remote work opportunities in the future, as potential employers can trust the student to work reliably even if they are not in the office every day.
A stigma still exists around online education and its worth when compared to traditional higher education.
This perception needs to change; online education is not only as valid as on-campus learning, but it is in fact an essential component of the higher education space.
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