Graduation Date


Document Type

Capstone Project

Project Type

Mixed Methods

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Program Chair

Julia Wilbarger, PhD, OTR/L

Faculty Advisor

Laura Greiss Hess, PhD, OTR/L


Assistive technology (AT) research has historically focused on skills that AT features can support (e.g. increased spelling, increased typing speed, etc.). In contrast, new research has examined the impact of AT on occupational engagement for individuals with disabilities, and AT in higher education with varying supports (Camarena et al., 2020; Gameuda et al., 2018; Malcolm & Roll, 2017). Due to the COVID pandemic, distance teaching/learning technology has become central to higher education (HE). Distance learning has caused uncertainties for students including creating an effective study routine (Peloso, et al., 2020). Further research is required for examining AT that can support self-regulation, time management, and academic skills. This research is a continued collaboration with Brain Education Strategies Technology (BEST), to empirically examine the use of AT including the BEST Suite© of apps (self-regulation, to do lists, and time management strategies) and Notability© (a dynamic note taking app), for HE students with and without disabilities. This research will emphasize an occupation centered lens examining the use of AT with an emphasis on distance learning due to COVID-19. This research employs mixed methods, (1) custom designed pre/post measures (quantitative descriptive data) and (2) structured interviews (qualitative analysis, constant comparison method, Corbin & Strauss, 2008) to examine the lived experiences and occupational impact from those using the AT. Participants in the 2021 research arm are 16 undergraduate students (n=16) from Dominican University of California (n=15 women, n=1 man, n=2 self-identify with disability). Our results indicate how an individual and occupation-centered approach to AT in HE can benefit students as demonstrated by their lived experiences and reported performance and satisfaction. Our findings provide preliminary evidence in support of adding OT/AT expertise as part of the current mentoring and coaching models employed in HE. This research has been funded by Dominican University, School of Health and Natural Sciences, Summer 2018 and 2019 Competitive Research Grants. This funding provides free software for all enrolled participants.

IRB Number


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