1st Edition

Inclusive Online and Distance Education for Learners with Dis/abilities Promoting Accessibility and Equity

Edited By Mary F. Rice, Michael Dunn Copyright 2024

    The term Inclusive Online Education has generated great interest within and across educational levels and contexts, yet practical applications of it remain elusive in many institutional settings. Chapters in this book highlight define and interrogate definitions of inclusion. The research studies reported here focus on moving the conversation about inclusive online education away from individual accommodations for which students must qualify, to models where learning experiences are designed for the success of all students and teachers—both technically and relationally.

    While some authors do mention the need to know and understand the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the authors in these chapters go beyond UDL to include understandings about historical challenges with inclusive education, emerging understandings about designing strong online instruction, and how placed-based thinking and social settings provide resources from which to draw in creating online learning environments and experiences that are not only humanized but humane. This book highlights research focused on moving the conversation about inclusion away from individual accommodations for which students must qualify to models where learning experiences are designed to address historical inequities and promote success for all students and teachers. Collectively, the chapters underscore the need to choose materials, design assessments, plan instruction, and engage with students in accordance with relational commitments to equity.

    Inclusive Online and Distance Education for Learners with Dis/abilities will be a great resource for academics, researchers, and advanced students of Education, Education Policy, Educational Research, and Disability Studies in Education. The chapters included in this book were originally published as a special issue of Distance Education.

    1. Inclusive online and distance education for learners with dis/abilities

    Mary F. Rice and Michael Dunn

    2. Making the invisible, visible: disability in South African distance education

    Paul Prinsloo and Chinaza Uleanya

    3. Students with mental health (dis)Abilities’ storied experiences within distance education

    Rose C. B. Singh and Judy E. MacDonald

    4. Advising college students with dis/abilities in online learning

    José Israel Reyes and Julio Meneses

    5. Promoting potential through purposeful inclusive assessment for distance learners

    Poppy Gibson, Rebecca Clarkson, and Mike Scott

    6. Identifying accessibility factors affecting learner inclusion in online university programs

    Rita Fennelly-Atkinson, Kimberly N. LaPrairie, and Donggil Song

    7. Higher education leaders’ perspectives of accessible and inclusive online learning

    Amy Lomellini, Patrick R. Lowenthal, Chareen Snelson, and Jesús H. Trespalacios

    8. Serving students with disabilities in K-12 online learning: daily practices of special educators during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Allison Starks


    Mary F. Rice is Associate Professor of Literacy for the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, USA. She is a former Classroom Teacher of English language arts, ESL, and reading support. She has been involved with K-12 distance, online, and blended learning since 2013 as a Researcher, Evaluator, Teacher, and Teacher Educator. Mary’s research focuses on the relational aspects of designing, delivering, and doing of inclusive and accessible online learning among educators, parents, and students. Mary has worked with individuals in online learning in most U.S. states and several countries. She was named an Emerging Scholar by the Online Learning Consortium in 2018 and has been honored with awards from organizations such as the American Educational Research Association and the Initiative for Literacy in the 21st Century. Most recently, Mary was awarded the National Technology Leadership Initiative Award in 2023, which is given for innovative interdisciplinary research shared across multiple professional organizations. Mary is the Managing Editor of Online Learning, the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Online Learning Research, and an Editorial Board Member for academic journals including Distance Education and Studying Teacher Education.

    Michael Dunn is Associate Professor of Special Education and Literacy at Washington State University Vancouver, USA and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses applicable to K-12 educators. His areas of research interest include writing strategy interventions, struggling writers, learning disabilities, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), inclusion strategies for students with disabilities, general education teachers’ referral criteria for students’ possible special education classification and placement. Dr. Dunn's research accomplishments include 43 journal articles, 2 edited books, 9 book chapters, 62 conference presentations, and seven funded external grants. He taught in Toronto (Ontario) area elementary/middle schools for 11 years. His student caseload included learning disabilities (reading, writing, and/or math) as well as other disability types. Dr. Michael Dunn's awards include the following: the 2022 Nichols-Mitchell Research Award from Washington State University in recognition of his research aims and accomplishments, the Organization of Teacher Educators in Reading (OTER, a group within the International Literacy Association) chose his 2011 published manuscript in their Journal of Reading Education as the 2012 Outstanding Article Award; and in 2012, the College of Education awarded Dr. Michael Dunn the Judy Nichols Mitchell Research Fellow Award, which provided $10,000 for his research in each academic year across 2012-2015.