August 1997


Computer-Mediated Communication and Disability

by Jennifer Gold

In the January 1997 issue of CMC Magazine, I briefly touched on the topic of computer-mediated communication and disability in an article entitled, "Does CMC Present Individuals with Disabilities Opportunities or Barriers?" Given the vastness of this topic, the January 1998 issue of CMC Magazine will be devoted to computer-mediated communication and disability.

We are seeking articles of high quality from a variety of perspectives, including those from consumers, researchers, teachers, specialists, clinicians, technology coordinators, university faculty, parents, and advocates. We encourage people with disabilities to submit articles. We are particularly interested in research articles and well-documented essays which provide examples of effective practice or first-hand experience with the issues raised below.

Articles are invited on the following themes, all related to individuals and students with disabilities. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to the following:

  • CMC and Technology: how does the emerging role of computer-mediated communications, new information technologies and assistive communication technology affect teaching and learning for students and individuals with disabilities? What are some examples?

  • Online Communication: How is communicating online beneficial for children and adults with disabilities? What are some of the drawbacks? What social, collaborative, personal, educational, and vocational implications does CMC have for students and adults with disabilities?

  • Technology Tools: In what ways do adaptive technology such as screen readers, Touchwindow screens, keyboards, voice recognition technology, scanners, and text browsers facilitate or hinder interaction and online communication for students and adults with disabilities?

  • Universal Access: What opportunities and barriers does the Internet hold for students and individuals with disabilities? What do universal access guidelines mean for people with disabilities? ow are multiple sensory information sources such as text, graphics, photographs, audio, and video used to include everyone in the audience? What are the implications for Internet users with older equipment?

  • Distance Education: In what ways do online distance learning opportunities such as the Internet, the World Wide Web, newsgroups, listservs, discussion forums, electronic mail, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) support or inhibit students and individuals with disabilities?

For those interested in contributing to this issue: Please send a highly-detailed paragraph or outline describing the contents of your intended article to special issue editor Jennifer Gold before November 1, 1997. Final articles will be due December 1, 1997.

For information about submissions, please consult the CMC Magazine editorial policies. [TOC]

Jennifer A. Gold ( is Research Assistant for the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts. She is a contributing writer for Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine.

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