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Technology has come a long way since correspondence courses reached people far from school in rural areas, or working full-time and studying during off-hours. There has always been a need to access education from non-traditional venues.
Through the personal computer, students may take online courses all over the world. It's easy and cost-effective to produce lessons through electronic means, especially since students can ask questions and get assistance through live video and/or audio chats, messaging, Twitter and e-mail. Some classes are even set up to be interactive, using a live video camera on the presenter and a pre-registered call-in system students use to ask questions. Streaming-video and open source platforms like Moodle also facilitate online learning.
The correspondence courses of today are called Internet-based learning, online training, e-learning, distance learning, Web-casting, or virtual classrooms. Universities everywhere have established online courses to compliment traditional course offerings held on campus. Each student is self-paced and aided by online materials.
Online learning then provides a solution for students with special needs, such as access to adaptive devices and software. The student is never without his/her switches, alternative mice, or speech and Braille output. Online learning also provides another means of inclusion when travel is problematic. The only drawback is isolation and lack of face-to-facepeer interaction; however, that gap is partially bridged with video chatting, Skype, instant messaging, Facebook, online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards!
The Great Lakes ADA Center along with the National Network of ADA Centers has a selection of online learning opportunities in webinar format, tutorials, audio conferences and podcasts. All cover some facet of the ADA. For example, the ADA Basic Building Blocks is an introductory course that explores the legal requirements and the spirit of the ADA. The course content is self-paced and organized into 12 topics that have been designed to be studied in order. It covers the basic principles and core concepts contained in the ADA. For more information, click the link above.
Resources for persons with disabilities pursuing college degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and math; use of successful electronic and technological resources; publications and programs that maximize independence, productivity, and participation.
The Faculty Room (for educators from Do-IT)
Online lessons for instructors for adapting instruction and fully including students with disabilities in academic activities.
Founded by M.I.T. educators, MindEdge Learning offers courses, supporting numerous degree and certification programs in the disciplines of Business & Management, Health Sciences, Information Technology, and Arts & Sciences. According to their website, "MindEdge Learning is committed to the principle of equal acess for learners with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. We have accessibility experts on staff who thoroughly test our courses and new features for learner experience and compatibility with the most commonly used assistive technologies. Learners are able to contact us through a variety of methods within the course regarding any accessibility issues."
Numerous resources, Web sites, and articles about distance learning, as well as studies and organizations developing inclusive tools for accessing Web-based learning.