Students as Causal Agents: Engagement in Course Selection

Ms. Cathy Haarstad, MS 
Dr. Evan Borisinkoff, Ph.D.
Ms. Rhonda Weathers, MS

Minot State University


While significant evidence indicates that making complex choices and decisions contributes to self-determination, the authors found no studies to date in which the phenomenon of engaging students with disabilities in choosing their high school courses was examined as a dependent variable. This phenomenological study explored?how course-selection might serve as a means of enabling self-determination,?which contextual factors might influence student engagement in course selection?and?how students?with disabilities?typically participate in course-selection.?The main findings point to the high readability demands of many high-school course descriptions and?established proof-of-concept on the feasibility of having a small (n=15) group of students with autism and developmental disabilities use a newly developed website to select courses and share preferences. Recommendations for improving the site as well as suggestions for further research are included.?? 

Keywords: self-determination, course-selection, decision-making, choice-making, assistive technology 

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