Information and communication technology related needs of college and university students with disabilities

  • Catherine S. Fichten Adaptech Research Network Dawson College Jewish General Hospital McGill University
  • Jennison V. Asuncion
  • Joan Wolforth
  • Maria Barile
  • Jillian Budd
  • Natalie Martiniello
  • Rhonda Amsel
Keywords: collegeUniversityStudents, disabilities, POSITIVESscale, ICTneeds, e-learning


Purpose: To explore variables related to how well the information and communication technologies (ICTs) related needs of students with different disabilities are being met on campus at institutions of higher education, at home and in e-learning contexts. We also explore the disciplines and programmes pursued by students with different disabilities and the specialised ICTs they use. Method: A total of 1,354 Canadian university and junior/community college students with various disabilities completed the POSITIVES Scale. Results: Post-secondary students often have several disabilities which may affect how easily they can use ICTs. Students’ disabilities also influence the specialised ICTs they use and how well their ICT-related needs are being met. While the findings indicate that, overall, students’ ICT-related needs are generally well met, the results also show that these are better met on campus than at home, and at colleges than at universities. This is not related to institution size or to students’ disciplines. Conclusions: Our results show more favourable than unfavourable findings. Nevertheless, there are concerns around the availability of computers with adaptive software/hardware in specialised laboratories as well as with institutional ICT loan programmes; funding for ICTs for personal use; training, both on and off campus; and technical support off campus.

Keywords: college university students; disabilities; POSITIVES Scale; ICT needs; e-learning

(Published: 19 December 2012)

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2012, 20: 18646 -


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How to Cite
Fichten C. S., Asuncion J. V., Wolforth J., Barile M., Budd J., Martiniello N., & Amsel R. (2012). Information and communication technology related needs of college and university students with disabilities. Research in Learning Technology, 20.
Volume 20, Issue 4 (2012) - Special Issue: Digital Inclusion and Learning