chapter  21
16 Pages

Is Technology Enabling or Disabling for Diverse Learners Studying Online?

WithShelley Kinash, James Birt, Madelaine-Marie Judd

Two ways in which 21st century higher education is substantially different from previous centuries are in the prevalence of online learning and increased student diversity, including expanded participation of students with disabling conditions. This chapter poses the question: have online technologies leveled the playing field for students with disabling conditions, or has the growing complexity of technology meant that more students have been shut out of education? This chapter argues that there are both metaphorical snakes and ladders at the intersection of technology and disability in the context of higher education. In other words, there are current forces that propel students with disabling conditions forward—and there are slippery slopes that see students falling downwards and sometimes right out of the education system.