Perspectives of Students with Disabilities in Courses using Open Educational Resources

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Open Educational Resources, Open Pedagogy, students with disabilities,Tackling a Wicked Problem
Davidson, Hannah
AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Hannah L. Davidson for the degree of Doctor of Education in Leadership, Learning, and Community Presented on March 30, 2022 Title: Accessing Open: Perspectives of College Students with Disabilities in Courses using OpenEducational Resources Abstract approved: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kathleen Norris, Ed.D., Dissertation Committee Chair The purpose of this study was to explore college students with disabilities’ (SWDs) experiences in courses that use Open Educational Resources (OER). Specifically, students at Plymouth State University who have enrolled in the first-year required course, Tackling a Wicked Problem (TWP). A qualitative study informed by Critical Disability Studies was used to capture the participants’ voices and lived experiences. Key informant interviews were conducted with 8 participants. The results from this study showed that while using OER may promote initial access to course materials, their use was not sufficient nor central to a positive classroom experience for the participants. Rather, they cited these conditions needed to feel successful in school: positive relationships, engagement, and self-esteem. When these three areas are integrated into the design of a course, SWDs describe a sense of care and comfort that allows them to feel less othered than traditional classroom environments. Findings from this study may be used to inform the design of future iterations of TWP and the General Education program for which it is a cornerstone. Beyond Plymouth State, these findings might encourage stakeholders to embed Care and Comfort into their programmatic design to ensure equity for students from marginalized population.