Online education brings benefits to faculty with disabilities

posted on Wednesday, Sep 21 2011

The benefits of online education extend beyond those that impact students. Schools and faculty are also impacted from the unique attributes of web-based learning. Financially, institutions can gain from the higher demand and lower cost of online bachelor degree programs. Logistically, some faculty can benefit from the technology by overcoming the challenges of holding courses on campus.

The University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) is reporting that its disabled faculty members have been able to benefit from the unique characteristics of online education. Frustrating challenges during face-to-face classroom interactions due to physical impairment have largely been overcome in the digital realm of higher education.

Douglas McCarty, a deaf teacher at UNCB, has found new freedom in his online course on murder, mystery and mayhem. Through internet-based chat sessions and email he is able to quickly engage students and not miss any important teacher-student interactions he once did.

"It is a great teaching environment for me," McCarty said. "I’ve taught face-to-face, and the main challenge has been lip-reading and reacting quickly enough to student responses."

The difficulties of traveling to and from school have also been eliminated in the digital classroom. Ann Millett-Gallant, a teacher with prosthetic legs, relies on a scooter to get to and from class. Internet-based classes have allowed her to easily teach from her home and educate students from around the world.

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