Disability, technology and e-learning: challenging conceptions
In considering the role that technology and e-learning can play in helping students access higher education and an effective learning experience, a large amount of the current research and practice literature focuses almost exclusively on accessibility legislation, guidelines and standards, and the rules contained within them (Abascal et al., 2004; Chisholm & Brewer, 2005; Gunderson & May, 2005; Paolucci, 2004; Reed et al., 2004; Slatin, 2005). One of the major problems of such an approach is that it has drawn higher education practitioners into thinking that their objective is to comply with rules. I argue that it is not (Seale, 2006). The objective should be to address the needs of students. The danger of only focusing on rules is that it can constrain thinking and therefore practice. We need to expand our thinking beyond that of how to comply with rules, towards how to meet the needs of students with disabilities, within the local contexts that students and practitioners are working. In thinking about how to meet the needs of students with disabilities, practitioners will need to develop their own tools. These tools might be user case studies, evaluation methodologies or conceptualizations:
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