New Online Accommodations Are Not Enough: The Mismatch between Student Needs and Supports Given for Students with Disabilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Logan E. Gin, Danielle C. Pais, Kristen D. Parrish, Sara E. Brownell, Katelyn M. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in nearly all universities transitioning their in-person courses to online instruction. Recent work from our research team conducted in Spring 2020 established that the immediate transition to online learning presented novel challenges for students with disabilities: students were unable to access previously established accommodations and there was a lack of information from Disability Resource Centers (DRCs) about adapting accommodations to online environments. In this study, we aimed to determine the extent to which these issues still were present 1 year later. In Spring 2021, we conducted a survey of 114 students with disabilities who were registered with the DRC and taking online science courses at a public research-intensive institution. We used our previous interviews with students to develop closed- and open-ended questions to assess the extent to which students with disabilities were being properly accommodated in their courses, document any new accommodations they were using, and elicit any recommendations they had for improving their experiences in online science courses. We used logistic regression to analyze the closed-ended data and inductive coding to analyze the open-ended data. We found that more than half of students with disabilities reported not being properly accommodated, and this was more likely to be reported by students who experienced new challenges related to online learning. When students were asked what accommodations they would have wanted, students often described accommodations that were being offered to some students but were not universally implemented. This study summarizes recommendations for making online science learning environments more inclusive for students with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biology Education
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • accommodation
  • accommodations
  • disability
  • disability
  • online education
  • online instruction
  • resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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