Call for papers: Accessibility of Open, Distance and e-Learning for Students with Disabilities

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On Behalf Of Chetz.Colwell
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2014 3:51 AM
Subject: Call for papers: Accessibility of Open, 
Distance and e-Learning for Students with Disabilities

Dear Colleagues,

Please find below a call for papers for a special 
issue on Accessibility of Open, Distance and 
e-Learning for Students with Disabilities, for 
The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning 
(Open Learning). Anne Jelfs and I are the guest 
editors for this special issue and we’d be very 
pleased if you would consider submitting a paper or case study.

All the details are provided below, but if you 
have any queries please just get in touch.

Please also forward this call for papers to your 
colleagues and contacts who might be interested 
in contributing to this special issue.



The 21st century brings a changing educational 
environment with greater emphasis on the use of 
technology in teaching and learning, which is 
particularly true for a lot of distance and open 
education providers. In this call for papers we 
are focusing on disabled students, especially 
those studying at a distance from the educational 
provider.  In 2012/13 approximately 10% of UK 
first year undergraduate and taught postgraduate 
students have declared a disability (HESA, undated).

Along with education providers’ moral obligation 
to enable disabled people to participate in 
learning, in many countries there is a legal 
imperative to avoid discrimination against 
disabled people.  For example, the UK’s Equality 
Act (OPSI, 2010) places a duty on Universities to 
avoid discrimination and provide reasonable 
adjustments for disabled students. Similar 
legislation exists in the USA’s Rehabilitation 
Act and Americans with Disabilities Act which 
impact on what and how education is delivered. 
But that is not the whole story: How do students 
work with technology that is both liberating and 
possibly restricting their educational 
experience? Does the curriculum or pedagogy need 
to change to incorporate more disabled students? 
How do educational institutions manage the 
legislation? Plus many more questions, hence the 
need for this special issue which focuses on the following themes.

The purpose of this special issue is to advance 
understanding of the ways in which open and 
distance learning can increase the accessibility 
of learning for people with disabilities as well 
as enhancing their learning experience and 
academic performance, and the challenges in 
enabling this. We welcome papers on applied and 
developmental research and case studies in the following areas:
        Technology; the accessibility of online 
learning and collaboration tools, the use of web 
2.0 technologies for accessibility, technical 
barriers to learning and overcoming them.
        curriculum issues including teaching 
students with disabilities in specific 
disciplines such as Science, Technology, 
Engineering, Mathematics, Arts, Languages, 
developing particular tools to enable students in specific discipline areas
        Assessment, attainment and retention of 
disabled students in distance and open learning.
        Accessibility of Open Educational 
Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
        Institutional change: increasing 
disability awareness; embedding accessibility in 
policy; policy evaluation studies
        Disabled students’ perspectives: results of surveys or evaluations.
        Training and professional development 
for those who support or teach disabled learners
        Technologies for teachers with disabilities
        Cultural issues – such as attitudes of 
others: family members, fellow students, concepts 
of disability, negative discrimination
        Working with other agencies to support students with disabilities

Research papers should be 5,000 -7,000 words and case studies 3,000 – 5,000.

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) 
(undated) 2012/13 first year students by 
Disability [online] 
(accessed 14/03/2014)
Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) (2010) 
Equality Act 2010 [online] 
(accessed 14/03/2014)
Deadline for submission of full papers: 1st July 2014

Submission process
For more information about this call for papers 
or if you are unsure whether your paper will be 
suitable for inclusion, please email the editors 
of the special issue: Dr Chetz Colwell 
and Dr Anne Jelfs 
with an outline or any other queries. Otherwise 
prepare your paper following the instructions to 
authors given on the Open Learning journal 
website at 
and submit it directly any time before the deadline.
When using the online submission system, please 
ensure that when you are asked to choose 
‘manuscript type’, you select the option ‘special 
issue manuscript’ from the drop down menu. This 
ensures that your paper is allocated to the 
processing stream of papers being considered for this special issue.
All papers will be read by the editors of the 
special issue and then sent for double blind peer 
review. Authors will be informed of the editors’ 
decision by the 1st August 2014 and any revisions 
must be completed to the satisfaction of the 
editors before the 1st October 2014.

Dr Chetz Colwell
Learning & Teaching Development Manager (Accessibility),
Co-chair of H810 Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students

Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
01908 655772

The Open University is incorporated by Royal 
Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England 
& Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).

Received on Tuesday, 8 April 2014 19:54:00 UTC