Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Why Universities which try to GO PAPERLESS are often making it hard for older and disabled

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 5 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It


Become a Fan
  (6 fans)
I'm about 49 years old but in today's economy I plan to work at least 30 or more years. So, I decided to apply for a doctorate. I was accepted but over the past 15 years universities have tried to go paperless. It is overkill and dehumanizing--not to mention unfair for older, new, and disabled students.

Dear Chronicle of Higher Education and those Concerned with Bad Trend,

I am listening to the following discussion online about the benefits and deficits of universities going paperless over the past decade.


This is a discussion entitled, "' The Paperless University: Myth or Reality" -- panel discussion, 2-21-07". [1] It was recorded at SUNY at Fredonia over 4 years ago and was done in podcast form initially. [2]

The object of my letter here is to focus on why the University of Kansas and Other Universities who attempt or try to GO PAPERLESS are, in many cases, making it very hard for older and disabled students to study. The main problem for us older and disabled students is caused by the fact that the university is trying to go paperless-to-the-extreme. In doing so, the best-rules and best-practices of multiple learning intelligences and styles are ignored in a variety of cases and the process does not allow for better over-all catering to individual students' (personal) issues. For example, disabled and elderly students might have difficulty in sitting and learning the ins-and-outs of new technologies than other younger students. [3] (I won't even mention in too much detail how much more often one has to print out material at home--i.e. so, that the paperless-university-on-campus becomes just as paper-heavy-as-ever--but at home because now the consumer, customer or student has to print out the data, forms, or readings in order to study the material for hours on end. )


I am a returning (but aging) student to the University of Kansas who suffers from a variety of health issues, including (1) adult attention deficit, (2) chronic fatigue syndrome, (3) fibromyalgia, (4) sleep apnea, (5) TMJ arthritis, and (6) suffer already 20 years from bad back and neck pain. These and other ailments have been diagnosed by physicians, experts, and university psychometric diagnostics over the recent decades. It is quite difficult for me to sit and carefully go over details online. Thank goodness that books and articles can be printed out! Alas, often things, like Graduate Student Handbooks are too big to print out, but are often impossible to get hold of in a timely manner. (Similarly, other materials, like next semester's course offerings at KU are not easy to obtain in soft paperback print either--unless one is in Lawrence already and can drive and pick up that material on ones own..)

Despite all the aforementioned distracting physical issues and pains in my life, I have continued to teach full-time most of the past 26 years--and have done so in some 10 different countries around the world. Moreover, I should note, during the last four years, I have twice enrolled in online courses to renew my Kansas State Department of Education (grades 7-12) certification.

Naturally, in order for me to take these online courses through KU's distance learning department, I had to have access to a computer and had to be trained by distance learning staff and help desks as (a) how to enroll online, (b) how to pay for my courses on-line, and (c) how to access a variety of online locations, downloads, visuals, and assignments. Early on, I often had contact staff online or via email for help when I had trouble accessing material for my course and assignments.

The first time I took a KU online course, I was taking the online course in Kuwait, where I taught middle school students. That was in 2008. The next time, in spring of 2010, I took another distance course online from KU while teaching adults and vocational training students in Germany.

NOTE: By the way, the enrollment process for independent study or distance courses at KU is relatively straightforward (streamlined) as compared to the rest of the paperless enrollment process that nearly 30,000 KU students have to face when they enroll at KU. In contrast, I also recall that in the old days at KU, enrollment through one's own department each semester was much more straightforward than it is in 2011. http://www.continuinged.ku.edu/is/deadlines.php


Finally, last autumn 2010, I determined to apply and enter a doctoral program at the University of Kansas. I was eventually accepted for entrance in Spring 2011. Interestingly, due to my handicaps, I chose to apply by snail mail rather than applying online. (I could not fathom spending so many hours on such a long application process. I was too afraid of recommendation letters, transcripts, etc. getting lost.)

In late 2010, I had applied to the Education School at KU. My primary focus to be in curriculum & teaching with secondary the foci in (1) multicultural education and in (2) educational change/administration. I also expect to gain some knowledge about modern technologies and modern university administration.

On the one hand, as a well-rounded individual, I believe I have a tremendous amount to offer--as I have been busy over the decades in the USA and abroad teaching at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education (on three continents for a quarter of a century already and plan to do so for the next 3 decades). On the other hand, I believe that I still have so much to learn by going back to university. For example, I need to get up-to-date on the newest learning technologies, like how to use I-Pods. I certainly plan to train hard and study hard.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5



KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

BED-INs and Other Protests Needed Now

GULF CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM calls for Gulf Monarchies to abandon absolutism and to adopt European-style Parliaments


PHILIPP ROESLER, of Vietnamese Descent. to Head the Health Ministry in Germany, as his own Party Plans to Push for more

Mitigation of Tsunami's and Earthquakes--Has JAPAN DONE ENOUGH?



The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

There has been a lot of cheering on the road to pa... by Kevin Anthony Stoda on Friday, Apr 8, 2011 at 4:55:59 AM
Click hereclick hereThis is part 3 of a series of ... by Kevin Anthony Stoda on Friday, Apr 8, 2011 at 6:22:12 AM
Click hereclick here... by Kevin Anthony Stoda on Friday, Apr 8, 2011 at 6:25:35 AM
Anonymous #1 wrote: I am not a Luddite but"" I be... by Kevin Anthony Stoda on Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 5:17:28 AM