This website is dedicated to my doctoral research study on experiences of interaction for students with disabilities in online university programs. The purpose of my research was to describe experiences of interaction for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities studying in online university programs. I used descriptive phenomenology that is a qualitative method used to study a structure of the experience (Giorgi, 2009). Few studies in the research literature illuminate experiences of students with disabilities in online learning environments. Research on students with disabilities and higher education in general, and online higher education in particular, is mostly focused on technology and support services, while pedagogy and theories of learning and disability are somewhat neglected. The research is diverse to compare, often small to generalize, and lacks theoretical and conceptual underpinning, making it difficult to establish an evidence base. Research evidence is skewed towards the quantitative methods that dominate the research in the field.
There are few qualitative studies describing the experience of students with disabilities but these are few in numbers. The voices of students with disabilities that could be captured in qualitative studies are mostly absent from the research literature. As the number of students with disabilities at universities is growing, and as more online learning opportunities are provided for them, there is a need to better understand commonalities and structures that underline their experiences as they describe them. My study contributes to the growing body of knowledge about students with disabilities in online learning environments.
Giorgi, A. (2009). The descriptive phenomenological method in psychology: A modified Husserlian approach. Duquesne University Press.