Citation: Barile, M., Asuncion, J., Lavers, J., Alapin, I., Maggiore, V., Guimont, J.P., Schipper, F., Chambers, B. & Abrami, P. (1998, Feb.). Computer, information and adaptive technologies: Implications for students with disabilities in postsecondary education. Presentation at the EvNet Conference, Montréal, Québec.

EvNet '98 Conference Abstracts

Roundtable : Computer, Information and Adaptive Technologies : Implications for Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education
Author(s) : Catherine S. Fichten, Ph.D.; Maria Barile, Jennison Asuncion, Jason Lavers, Iris Alapin, Vince Maggiore, Jean-Pierre Guimont, Fay Schipper, Bette Chambers, Ph.D. & Philip Abrami, Ph.D.
Organization(s): Dawson College, SMBD Jewish General Hospital, Action des Femmes Handicapées de Montréal, Concordia University, Université du Québec (à Montréal), Logipac Technologies Inc., & Mackay Centre


Our team has been active on many fronts. We have obtained additional research funding for related studies, presented and published aspects of our research, and forged new partnerships and alliances. This presentation focuses on ongoing projects conducted by our team.

The overall focus of our research is on factors which facilitate or hamper the success and integration of students with disabilities in colleges and universities. Of particular interest is examination of factors related to computer, information and adaptive technologies. Within the scope of these overall objectives, we have been involved in several projects.

Computer, Information and Adaptive Technologies in Postsecondary Education

One very active empirical study recently launched by our group has the following goals:

  1. to evaluate the use of the utility of computer, information and adaptive technologies in the post-secondary education of students with disabilities and
  2. to make available descriptive and correlational data to better advise students, service providers, professors, planners, policy makers, as well as developers and suppliers of mainstream and adaptive technologies.

This investigation is part of a larger project whose goal is to provide answers to questions such as : What variables distinguish students with disabilities who use computer related technologies? What aspects are particularly useful and how are these used? What educational and social goals are met by computer, information and adaptive technologies? What are useless but popular technologies and what are shortsighted economies? Conversely, why do some students who could benefit fail to use these technologies? How to systemic variables, such as the availability of training, Internet access and governmnet programs interact with individual differences, such as computer anxiety, age, availability of funding and sex of acilitate or hamper the use of computers? What issues arise with the introduction of educational technologies into postsecondary curricula? What opportunities for students with disabilities are provided by computer assisted cooperative learning? What is the impact of working in virtual and face-to-face cooperative learning groups where nondisabled students do or do not know the disability status of groups members?

Computer and Information Technologies Fair

In collaboration with Fay Schipper of the Mackay Center, we are planning a Computer, Information and Adaptive Technologies Fair. The objective of the Fair is to showcase software and hardware that are accessible to people with disabilities. The Fair will allow people to explore what works for them by providing an opportunity to try out mainstream and adapted hardware and software. Companies will be invited to display and demonstrate their products. If successful, this could lead to a permanent exhibition at Mackay Centre.

Using Mainstream Technologies to improve the Devliery of Postsecondary Education to Students With Disabilities

Alternative means of communication via the Internet. In collaboration with Vincent Maggiore of Dawson College and Logipac Technologies Inc., we hae been exploring the uses of NetMeeting and other Internet collaborative learning and communication tools to better meet the needs of postsecondary students both with and without disabilities. One interesting aspect of this project is an exploration of the possibility that Deaf students who use sign language may be able to use the video feature of NetMeeting to communicate using sign language on the Internet. What is interesting about this project is that we are using mainstream hardware and software already available at virtually all postsecondary insitutions.

Use of the SoundBlaster card to put texts on tape for students with visual and learning disabilities. We have also been trying to find inexpensive, easy, and fast computer assisted solutions to problems faced by students with disabilities and their professors. One such problem is how to give a students who has a visual impairment or a learning disability and audiotape of an assignment quickly, without helping to find a reader or giving the text out to a reading service. Without any specialized hardware or software, using only a regular PC, an ordinary tape recorder, SoundBlaster we were able to successfully audiotape a variety of materials. Of course, there are limitations. We are in the process of evaluating in what circumstances this type of solution is useful.

Increased Presence On The Web

We are currently in the process of setting up a Listserv; this will be organized by team member Jennison Asuncion. To be based at Concordia University, where Asuncion is a graduate student in Educational Technology, the listserv will focus communication about our research. Team members Jason Lavers and Vincent Maggiore are also in the process of constructing up a Research Home Page. This will provide information about our work and feature links to other relevant sites.