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Faculty Attitudes and Practices Regarding Students with Disabilities: Two Decades After Implementati... - page 57 / 67





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3. Involve students with disabilities with academic advisors who take an active role in helping students meet their technology, academic, and career development needs. In this study, the participants rated their academic advisors as inadequate in terms of knowledge of technology and how to apply it in the classroom and workplace. The majority of the participants who responded to the faculty advisors' knowledge item indicated that their academic advisors had little to no information in this area. Hence, students with disabilities need access to more proactive and informed advisors. As noted previously, quality advisement may result from specialized or inclusive service delivery approaches, with the preference being for advisement delivered in the same way for all students. In that vein, Frost (1992) stressed that all students should receive more intensive assistance (i.e., "developmental advising"). For students with disabilities, developmental advisors could perform such tasks as (a) engage students in discussing and resolving barriers to their academic progress; (b) involve them in academic problem solving and decision making; (c) encourage students' use of campus resources; (d) involve them in schedule planning; and (e) show interest in students' academic, career, and outside interests. To implement developmental advising for students with disabilities, academic advisors need training on legislative protections of students' civil rights, disability-related services at the institution, appropriate classroom technologies for students, and the barriers that students with disabilities face in the employment process (Aune et al., 1995; Rhoads, Slate, & Steger, 1994). Academic advisors also need quality advising materials that are updated on a regular basis. The desk reference guide produced by Project PAACS at Mississippi State University provides a good example (Thompson & Bethea, 1996). Quality developmental advising has the potential to contribute to students' self-confidence in the technology transfer and accommodation request process.

4. Identify students who need more training in information technology and implement strategies to involve them in formal programs offered by the computing center, library, and disability services staff. The participants were only moderately satisfied with what they had learned about technology while they were in college. Significantly, those respondents who had learned about technology reported that the information was of high quality. Nevertheless, 40% of the sample said that they learned little or nothing about technology while in school. The participants mentioned techniques for helping them overcome such deficits (e.g., enroll in computing center classes on word processing, e-mail, and the internet; complete information technology training offered by the library such as info-links; contact formal sources of help such as the disability student service office; and learn about technology by talking with professors, friends, and rehabilitation counselors). To overcome low program participation rates by students with disabilities, other researchers have suggested intensified marketing for the programs, publicity about how the programs relate to high priority student goals such as employment, and better information sharing among campus programs regarding students and their needs (Friehe et al., 1996).

5. Improve technology-related services that help students make the transition from use of technology in the classroom to use of technology in the workplace. Gaps existed in technology-related service delivery for the participants while they were in college. For example, the vast majority of the respondents never participated in an evaluation of the assistive technology or accommodative strategies that would have

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