Studying in an online college offers a lot of advantages for students with disabilities. However, it has its downsides too. So, before you pursue getting a degree online, consider these hurdles first.
As a student with a disability, you have to write a letter requesting to have special accommodation. Then, you will need to wait for that to be put in place too. If you don’t have the letter that the university disability services office issued, your instructor will not be able to make special accommodations for you.
The digital-based online programs are designed with an assumption that students can navigate its content. Unfortunately, some learning management systems can be challenging for students who have physical, cognitive, or print disabilities.
Some e-texts are not keyboard-friendly. They can also have a proprietary format that is difficult to access for those with motor, visual, physical, or sensory limitations. If you have motor neuron disease and visual acuity, you may find browsing challenging when there are pop-ups and overlays. The flashing lights and images can also cause seizures to those with photosensitive epilepsy.
Colorblind students and those with low vision may find it hard to view some colors, fonts, and formats. Those who have visual problems may find dynamic e-learning content problematic too. There are also video-based materials that have nonverbalized action. Students might not comprehend the material because the caption cannot accurately tell the story.
Furthermore, there is a higher bandwidth requirement for audio transcribers, screen readers, and other visual aids. Screen readers also tend to have inconsistency when it comes to punctuation. To keep pace with improvements, regular software update, which can be expensive, is needed.
Aside from the technical issues, there are cultural and linguistic hurdles too. There are still social customs, body language, and educational style differences in online learning. There is also varying chat environment, which can be intimidating. As a result, students of different cultures may feel getting alienated or marginalized.