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COLSD: Making Online Learning Accessible & Effective

Screenshot of the COLSD web site home page

Project Name
Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (COLSD)

Project Website

Project Description

CAST, the University of Kansas's Center for Research on Learning, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education partnered on a five-year initiative to research how online learning can be made more accessible, engaging, and effective for K-12 learners with disabilities.

The Center staff conducted research nationally and built a network of research collaborators representing a wide array of disciplines whose expertise impacts learner outcomes.

Goals of the Center:

The research produced detailed descriptions of the approaches and their key components, evidence that the approaches can be successfully implemented in authentic settings, and evidence of the promise of the approaches for achieving their intended outcomes for students with disabilities.

Activities include:

Selected Publications & Media

Center Publications
Complete list of Center journal articles

Currie-Rubin, R.(2014). Understanding the roles of families in virtual learning. TEACHING Exceptional Children. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0040059914530101

Hashey, A., &  Stahl, S. (2014). Making online learning accessible for students with disabilities. TEACHING Exceptional Children. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0040059914528329

Johnston, S., Greer, D., & Smith, S. (2014). Peer learning in virtual schools. Journal of Distance Education, 28(1), 1-31.


2012 – 2016


Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education


University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning (CRL)
National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)

Project Leadership

Daryl F. Mellard, PhD, University of Kansas
David H. Rose, EdD, CAST
Bill East, EdD, NASDSE


For more information about this project, please contact

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