The Barrier of the Written Word: Analysing Universities’ Policies to Include Students with Print Disabilities

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 153-167, 2011

Posted: 9 Apr 2011

See all articles by Paul Harpur

Paul Harpur

University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law

Rebecca Loudoun

Griffith University

Date Written: April 6, 2011

Abstract

One of the biggest challenges confronting university students with print disabilities, such as blindness, is accessing the written word. In the past it was necessary to read text books onto cassette tape or turn them to Braille so these students could access the text books. Technological advances are making university life increasingly accessible for students with print disabilities. Using a combination of survey data and policy searches, the paper examines whether Australian universities are enabling students with print disabilities to take advantage of these technological advances. Results revealed that Australian Universities are not ensuring that students with print disabilities have timely access to textbooks required for their university studies as a result of a combination of factors including inefficiencies caused by the statutory agency which regulates copyright, and by some universities having policies to provide minimal support to these students. These findings are used discussed alongside a range of reforms which take into consideration publisher’s copyright concerns, universities cost limitations and students with print disabilities desire to gain access to textbooks.

Keywords: Print Disabilities, Higher Education, Blind, Universities

Suggested Citation

Harpur, Paul David and Loudoun, Rebecca, The Barrier of the Written Word: Analysing Universities’ Policies to Include Students with Print Disabilities (April 6, 2011). Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 153-167, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1804628

Paul David Harpur (Contact Author)

University of Queensland - T.C. Beirne School of Law ( email )

Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Rebecca Loudoun

Griffith University

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

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