Faculty Perceptions on Accessibility in Online Learning: Knowledge, Practice and Professional Development


  • Thelma C Guilbaud
  • Florence Martin University of North Carolina Charltote
  • Xiaoxia Newton




Accessibility in Online Learning, Faculty Development, Transformative Learning, Online Learners with Disabilities


This study examined the level of readiness of faculty in designing and delivering accessible online courses to meet the needs of all learners, including students with disabilities. A total of 182 tenured/non-tenured full time, part-time, adjunct and clinical faculty from three public universities of different sizes were surveyed to gauge their awareness, understanding, and practices related to disability laws, quality standards, utilization of tools, and professional development support. Results from the study indicated an uneven level of readiness by faculty regarding online learning accessibility. Results from the study showed that professional development training in online learning had a very significant influence on accessibility knowledge and practice. Also, high perceptions of knowledge for institutional policy and terminology and low perception of accessibility laws and standards were found. It is also found that training on disability-related laws and regulations provided by higher education institutions was insufficient and at times, does not align with the faculty’s schedule. Given the results of the study, it is recommended that higher education institutions reorient their approach to supporting faculty who teach online and develop a comprehensive strategy to reach the goal of helping all students, including students with disabilities, to fully engage online learning. The findings from this study have implications for course development and implementation to support students with disabilities. 

Author Biography

Florence Martin, University of North Carolina Charltote

I am a Professor in the Learning, Design Technology program at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. I received my Doctorate and Master's in Educational Technology from Arizona State University. I have a bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Bharathiyar University, India. Previous to my current position, I taught at University of North Carolina Wilmington for seven years. I also worked on instructional design projects for Shooolini University, Viridis Learning, Maricopa Community College, University of Phoenix, Intel, Cisco Learning Institute, and Arizona State University. I worked as a co-principal investigator on the Digital Visual Literacy NSF grant working with Maricopa Community College District in Arizona and with Usability Security with Computing and Information Systems at UNCC. My research focuses on designing and integrating online learning environments (OLE) to improve learner motivation and engagement to achieve effectiveness in learning. I served as the President of the Multimedia Production Division at AECT from 2012-2013 and I am the 2016-2017 president-elect for Division of Distance Education at AECT.


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Faculty, Professional Development, and Online Teaching