Exploring the use of an Internal Student Homepage for Students with Learning Disabilities in a Postsecondary Web Community
Deborah Tsagris, University of Calgary , Canada
University of Calgary . Awarded
This case study explored the use of student homepages. Students in a technical college developed an individual website and used it as a self-advocacy tool in a web based community. The homepages were used as an integrated method of instruction during a summer transition program (STP) for students with Learning Disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). After the program, students used homepages as an online method for communicating with professors about their disability. The use of 'The Student Homepages' was found to promote self-determined knowledge, skills, and attitude and to promote a social context of autonomy. The case study included four participant groups, the teachers who delivered the STP, the students who participated in the intervention, the college professors with whom the information was shared, and the staff of the Centre for Students with Disabilities. Ten student participants were interviewed during the STP and after the first term of college. All 10 students recommended other colleges and universities use the homepages during their transition programs. It was found that the activities associated with creating their homepages were motivating and engaging. Six members of the teaching team observed and reported the high level of student engagement and motivation during the transition program. The homepages were found to promote self-determined components of self-awareness, disability awareness, and self-advocacy. Twenty college professors completed surveys about the homepage and their interaction with the students. Three college professors were interviewed. The college professors' feedback indicated that they were impressed with the efforts the students made in producing their homepages; they valued having access to additional information not ordinarily readily available. Disability staff were surveyed and confirmed the student and professor feedback as to the value of the homepages as a disability related method of communication. This case study offers disability service providers a model to integrate technology and a self-determination curriculum into a transition program and to enhance accommodation procedures by the use of student homepages.
Tsagris, D. Exploring the use of an Internal Student Homepage for Students with Learning Disabilities in a Postsecondary Web Community. Ph.D. thesis, University of Calgary.
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