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Applied or Denied?: The eLearning Experience of an Autistic, Mature-Aged University Student

Applied or Denied?: The eLearning Experience of an Autistic, Mature-Aged University Student
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Author(s): Jillian Downing (University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Copyright: 2014
Volume: 3
Issue: 2
Pages: 15
Source title: International Journal of Cyber Ethics in Education (IJCEE)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Jeffrey Hsu (Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcee.2014040101

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Abstract

As universities expand so too does the diversity of students. Widening participation requires higher education providers to be responsive to the needs of all students by ensuring an accessible and engaging learning environment. Today's cohort includes an increased number of students with autism, a spectrum condition that has the potential to be either beneficial or detrimental to their success in higher education. This article reports on a mature-age student with autism who publicly announced his struggle with the eLearning environment, somewhat ironically, in the asynchronous discussion board. While eLearning offers designers and teaching staff an opportunity to adopt an applied and collaborative approach to the learning environment, for this student it created a challenging landscape dominated by steep mountains and roadblocks. What the student revealed has implications for course designers, teaching staff, and university administrators as they undertake to provide an eLearning environment that is suitable for all students, including those with autism.

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