Understanding the needs of students with and without disabilities for inclusive UDL-based design of Engineering courses through learning management systems

Hongye Liu, Deepak Moparthi, Lawrence Angrave, Jennifer R. Amos, David Dalpiaz, Chrysafis Vogiatzis, Sujit Varadhan, Yun Huang, Rebecca Marie Reck

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


As increasingly many classes are transitioning part or all of their content to online platforms, it becomes crucial to identify which aspects of learning management systems (LMS) are sufficiently accommodating the learning of students from different backgrounds. We conducted a survey across undergraduate STEM students at the University of Illinois regarding their perceptions on LMS, including how the students with disabilities (SWDs) perceive the quality and features of LMS, because online access to course materials has been identified as the number one feature needed for SWDs and SWDs preferred to use their institute's LMS [5]. We designed questions using four major constructs such as education equity, system quality, information quality, and performance impact of the LMS. Beyond demographic and disability disclosure, our survey also included the students' usage and view about the quality of specific features such as the calendar, message board, file uploading, assessments, LMS discussion boards, Gradescope integration, recordings posted in various capacities and accessibility of the features. In addition, we investigated the effect of students' mode of learning such as "in person", "hybrid", or "online" on their perceptions. Preliminary results from 131 responses (including 37 SWDs) that span 69 different courses predominantly show that students prefer to have a single website or LMS for their course, and SWDs have significantly stronger preference for such design. In the in-person learning mode, SWDs are significantly less pleased about the message posting on the course website. About the four constructs for LMS quality, the majority of students are giving high evaluations. We found there is a group of students (n=13) who did not have a particular officially accommodated disability but faced conditions that prevented them from attending class at some point. Including such a group of students with SWD together and naming them SWD-like, we found that SWD-like were significantly less pleased than students without disabilities (SWODs) with the way course materials were being posted to the existing course website. Furthermore, students with SWD-like status rated the efficacy of lecture video transcripts to be higher, and were generally less satisfied with how Canvas was being used as an LMS. From these results, we can identify valuable knowledge and opportunities to develop more inclusive LMS-based courses that serve all students, especially SWDs fairly following Universal Design Principles (UDL) [4].

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Aug 23 2022
Event129th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Excellence Through Diversity, ASEE 2022 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2022Jun 29 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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