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Technology and Learning Environments in Higher Education

Tracey Wilen-Daugenti

The Internet has transformed higher education by changing the way universities and colleges teach students. As a result, many institutions are struggling to understand how the next generation of Internet technologies, including Web 2.0, multimedia, virtual presence, gaming, and the proliferation of mobile devices, will impact their students and infrastructures. .edu: Technology and Learning Environments in Higher Education discusses how higher education institutions can use these technologies to enable learning environments. In the future, students will have complete access to any higher education resource, including expert scholars, lectures, content, courseware, collaborative dialogues, information exchanges, hands-on learning, and research – no matter where they are located. If fully enabled, this new learning environment will blur the lines between on- and off-campus experiences and remove barriers to learning and research – greatly improving the quality of education for students globally.
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9. Adaptive and Assistive Technology for Use in Higher Education by Patricia D. Wilen, Ph.D.



Adaptive and Assistive Technology for Use in Higher Education

Patricia D. Wilen, Ph.D.

Career opportunities are increasing for people with disabilities due to advancements in computer technology. Many high-paying jobs, however, require a college education or advanced training in specific skills. A 1999 study by the University of Washington found that U.S. students with disabilities represented only 6% of the postsecondary education undergraduate student body. These disabilities include blindness and visual impairments, deafness and other hearing impairments, mobility or orthopedic impairments, speech and language impairments, health impairments, and learning disabilities. By 2004, this number had almost doubled.1

The federal government and many states have mandates that require institutions to provide the disabled reasonable access to educational opportunities. With advancements in technology, students with disabilities are increasingly able to earn a college degree. Two years after high school, 63% of students with disabilities are enrolled in postsecondary education compared to 72% of students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are more likely to enroll in 2-year courses, with 42% enrolled in 4-year courses compared to 62% of students without disabilities; 16% of students with disabilities earned a B.A. de ← 77 | 78 → gree compared to 27% of those without disabilities, while 25% of students with and without disabilities earned associate degrees or vocational certificates.2

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