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Student Projects

Amanda Bailey

This thesis explores instructors' and students with disabilities (SWD) perspectives of UDL in online higher education. Specifically, this thesis is examining Instructors' and SWD experiences with online teaching and UDL and their perceptions regarding the application of the UDL principles and guidelines.  The research questions are addressing what experiences instructors and SWD have with UDL in online higher education, their challenges, barriers, and preferences to using and implementing UDL, and what UDL guidelines they are interested to know more about. Eight SWD participated in three focus groups that discussed and 6 Instructors participated in three focus groups. A thematic analysis is being used to determine the themes emerging from the focus groups. I hope this thesis will highlight the challenges faculty members and SWD face when using and implementing the UDL framework and provide educators with concrete examples of how to apply the UDL principles in an online environment. Following the completion of the research, the results of this thesis will be used to develop a Community of Practice (CoP) where SWD and faculty members at Brock University can work together to identify challenges and strategies to guide the development of inclusive online higher education 

Rachel Sheppard

This thesis explores the transition planning experiences of disabled student's from secondary to post-secondary education. Transition planning is essential for disabled students to access accommodations in higher education. Recent changes have been proposed by the Government of Ontario Education Technical Sub-committee to help improve transitions for disabled students by working to remove barriers. Based on literature on transition planning this thesis follows a mixed methods explanatory design using initial surveys and follow-up interviews to contextualize students' experiences. Using the Government of Ontario's recommendations, an initial survey was developed and distributed to disabled first and second-year students at Brock University (N=16). Follow up interviews were also conducted with participants to discuss their experiences and agreement with recommendations (N=4). A descriptive analysis of quantitative survey results is currently being conducted as well as a thematic analysis of qualitative survey responses and follow-up interview responses. Following the completion of this research, a summary of the research on the recommendations will be shared with the government of Ontario to help inform the implementation of recommendations. 

Kayla Cormier

A variety of demographic, organizational, client-related, and person-related variables have been investigated as predictors of burnout. However, the relationship between self-confidence and burnout is not well-understood in the context of support professionals for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The objective of this study is to quantify the relationship between self-confidence in managing challenging behaviour and burnout, and to explore professionals' perceptions of the role of self-confidence in support adults who engage in challenging behaviour. This research follows a convergent mixed methods design, where various types of direct support professionals (e.g., disability support professional, instructor therapist) complete a survey that includes both quantitative and qualitative components to assess burnout, self-confidence, and other related topics. This project has received ethics approval and is currently in the survey distribution phase. 

Jenna Lazarra

My proposed research aims to uncover the lived experiences of first-year Brock University students who identify as disabled or part of the disabled community as they transition from secondary education (high school) to post-secondary education. I am specifically interested in exploring how students make sense of how their high school experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic affected their transition to university. I will be exploring their experiences through a transformative lens to identify potential power dynamics between students, educators, and administrators, as well as to empower students to express their concerns. In moving the field of Disability Studies forward, I also hope to elicit change in which disabled students can self-advocate and foster a more accessible and inclusive school environment. To do so, I will be using an arts-based methodology where participants may use multiple modalities of art to elicit meaning-making of their lived experiences. By the end of my thesis, I also wish to hold a virtual gallery to showcase their unique pieces, share their experiences, and explore the next steps and recommendations. 

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