Students with Disabilities in Distance Education: Characteristics, Course Enrollment and Completion, and Support Services
Moisey, Susan D.
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This study describes the characteristics, enrollment, and completion rates of students with disabilities and the support services they received over a three-year period. Between 1998 and 2001 a total of 604 students with disabilities enrolled in undergraduate courses at Athabasca University, which represents 1.5% of the student population. More than half (52%) had a physical disability, 20% had a learning disability, 20% had a psychological disability, 4% had some form of visual impairment, and 3% had a hearing impairment. Of these students 56.6% completed one or more of the courses in which they were enrolled. Their overall course completion rate (including early withdrawals) was 45.9%, somewhat lower than that of the general university population. Most students received a variety of types of assistance and accommodation through the Office for Access for Students with Disabilities. Only 7% of students with disabilities received no support services. Students who received more types of support services tended to have somewhat more success in terms of course completions, and certain types of disabilities appeared to be more amendable to certain types of assistance.