T.H.E. (Technological Horizons in Education) Journal, April 1997. Reprinted with permission


by Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, Computing & Communications Director

Computers, adaptive technology and the internet offer the potential to improve the lives of people with disabilities, making them more independent and productive and allowing them to participate in a wider range of life experiences.

Over the years, I have presented a number of seminars and courses on this topic for teachers, service providers, and individuals with disabilities. As with all traditional seminars and courses, the set of people who could enroll has been limited to those potential participants who could meet in a single place at a pre-specified time. To move away from this constraint, I considered this question: "What is the feasibility of offering a successful course that typically involves demonstrations, discussions and field experiences in a distance learning format using the Internet as the primary medium for the delivery of instruction?"

For more on the Adaptive Computer Technology course at the University of Washington, see their Web page at: http://www.edoutreach.washington.edu/extinfo/dl_index.htm

Sheryl Burgstahler is an Assistant Director within Computing & Communications at the University of Washington. She teachers Internet classes for teachers and distance learning classes on making computing resources accessible to people with disabilities. She directs DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology), a project to recruit students with disabilities into science, engineering and mathematics academic programs and careers. DO-IT, recipient of the 1995 National Information Infrastructure Award in Education, is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation.
E-mail: sherylb@cac.washington.edu