Author(s)

Seleta BunchFollow

Date

4-2016

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Deanna L. Keith

Keywords

Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder, Hermeneutical Phenomenology, Learning Disabilities, Online Learning, Post-secondary Education, Specific Learning Disorder

Disciplines

Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Higher Education | Other Education

Abstract

Enrollment in online degree programs is rapidly expanding due to the convenience and affordability offered to students and improvements in technology. The purpose of this hermeneutical phenomenological study was to understand the shared experiences of students with documented specific learning disorders (including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) enrolled in online degree programs at a large, faith-based university in the Southeast United States. Colleges and universities must follow federal mandates as recommended by the Office of Civil Rights for students with documented disabilities in both traditional and online settings. Research is lacking in the area of understanding the experiences of students with specific learning disorder (including ADHD) in online college degree programs. Students with specific learning disorder (including ADHD) participated in an online focus group and in semi-structured individual interviews to share their experiences as online learners. The following research questions were addressed: How do students with documented specific learning disorders describe their experience in the university online learning environment? How do participants with documented specific learning disorder describe their reported experiences using accommodations in the online learning environment? What benefits are perceived by students with documented specific learning disorder in the university online learning environment? What challenges are perceived by students with documented specific learning disorder in the online university learning environment? Challenges and benefits of online degree programs, ideas for improving online degree programs, internal characteristics for success, and external motivators for degree completion were the identified themes.