Perceptions of academic quality and approaches to studying among disabled students and nondisabled students in distance education

Jelfs, Anne and Richardson, John T. E. (2010). Perceptions of academic quality and approaches to studying among disabled students and nondisabled students in distance education. Studies in Higher Education, 35(5) pp. 593–607.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070903222666

Abstract

There is little systematic evidence on the experience of disabled students in higher education. In this study, equal numbers of disabled and nondisabled students taking courses with the UK Open University were surveyed with regard to their approaches to studying and perceptions of the academic quality of their courses. Students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, students with mental health difficulties and students with fatigue were more likely to exhibit a surface approach and less likely to exhibit organised studying than were nondisabled students. In the first two groups, this was associated with lower ratings of the quality of their courses. Nevertheless, the differences were not large, either in absolute terms or in the proportion of variance in the students' scores that they explained. The impact of disability on students' perceptions of the academic quality of their courses and on their approaches to studying appears to be relatively slight.

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