CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Project Plan to Establish A College Education Program For Severely Impaired People Through Computer Based Distance Learning

Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education

Department

Center for Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

Edward Simco

Abstract

The problem addressed by this dissertation is that undergraduate educational opportunities have been denied to home-bound people because no appropriate "delivery vehicle” exists. This means that severely disabled adults who have the necessary motivation and qualifications, and funds, to study college level courses, still lack special additional opportunities and facilities. While existing communications programming would enable such students to utilize these assets, an academic computer system that includes courseware would be necessary to the process.

The procedure developed to investigate the potential of such a project included 1) adopting a course in telecommunications from the Nova University Computer-Based Learning curriculum 2) recruiting students from contacts with physiatrists connected with established rehabilitation organizations 3) providing necessary materials, such as text books, study guides, modems, software , and telephone access facilities 4) prior testing for learning styles and motivation to establish bases for comparisons.

The result was that all 10 who agreed to participate were volunteers and expressed enthusiasm for the project, but four never logged on to the system. All completed both tests, but while some of the test answers given by those who logged on and those who never logged on were different, many were the same. Individual written instructions were sent to each student and personal telephone contact was established with each student and on-site volunteer staff people. The conclusions and recommendations growing out of this study entail the idea that the special educational problems addressed might begin to open some new pathways to a large segment of our population. Because this was an initial trial without historical precedents, the basic expectation was that the special students would complete the course. Had they accomplished this, they would have demonstrated their ability to learn and use the subject skills, and would have acquired tools for taking additional computer based learning courses. Unfortunately, this assumption did not give sufficient credence to the idea that good, positive reactions to the technology could be obtained only from the handicapped people who were supposed to make use of it.

The foregoing discussion and its implications led to the conclusion that individual attention, guidance, and assistance with hardware/software functions will be necessary for such students to take formalized computer based courses.

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