Access and Barriers to Online Education for People with Disabilities

Curtin University has just published a new and important report ‘Access and Barriers to Online Education for People with Disabilities’ by Dr Mike Kent.


This paper reports on a study conducted in 2014 and 2015 that explored the accessibility of eLearning for students with disabilities studying fully online in Australia.  The study looked at students studying through Open Universities Australia (OUA).  OUA brings together 15 different independent higher education institutions to teach students fully online across a number of different fields.  This diversity of institutions allowed a number of different eLearning environments, technologies and learning and teaching strategies to be canvassed.


The study had two phases. Firstly, a survey that explored students’ experience related to the accessibility of online learning and teaching platforms, and students’ approach to disclosure of their disability and the effectiveness of any accommodation offered by the different institutions.  The second phase of the research consisted of a series of interviews that expanded on the information collected in the surveys and also explored the accessibility of different approaches to learning and teaching and assessment.