This paper addresses the question: How can we create better access to quality educational practices for those who live and work with students with disabilities and who are also disadvantaged geographically? To explore the notion of multiple disadvantage, a study was conducted to examine the experience of participants who were exposed to an Australian online learning package that has been developed to assist those living and working with students with autism. The government-funded package, called Positive Partnerships, is available nationwide, and includes interactive multi-media learning modules, information, links, discussions and feedback options. In view of the finding that rural and remote education was less available, less accessible, and less affordable than that provided to urban dwellers (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 2000), this study examined feedback from an online survey, with particular attention to comments made by those with disabilities and /or living in isolated areas. Feedback about the site was extremely positive. Participants valued the features that embodied universal design and maximised time efficiencies and convenience. To exploit the benefits of this form of online learning, four challenges were identified: promotion of the site; balancing multimedia against computer capacity; addressing local issues through a national site; and maintaining the site beyond the funding period. The study concludes that improving access to education by augmenting face-to-face training with online learning for those in isolated areas will not eliminate their hidden disability costs, but it will go some way to meeting their educational needs in a more equitable way.
|Title of host publication||Curriculum, Technology & Transformation for an Unknown Future : Proceedings ascilite Sydney 2010|
|Place of Publication||Australia|
|Publisher||University of Queensland|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|Event||Ascilite 2010: Curriculum, Technology & Transformation for an Unknown Future - Sydney, Australia|
Duration: 5 Dec 2010 → 8 Dec 2010
|Conference||Ascilite 2010: Curriculum, Technology & Transformation for an Unknown Future|
|Period||5/12/10 → 8/12/10|
Kilham, C. (2010). Positive partnerships website: addressing disability and educational disadvantage in rural Australia. In Curriculum, Technology & Transformation for an Unknown Future : Proceedings ascilite Sydney 2010 (pp. 511-517). Australia: University of Queensland.