Teaching teachers about augmentative and alternative communication: Opportunities and challenges of a web-based course

Tal Lebel, Elite Olshtain, Patrice L. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) has become a widely accepted means of supporting children who have complex communication needs, demographic data indicate that AAC instruction lags behind service delivery needs. In this paper, information is presented about a web-based AAC course for special education teachers, which was delivered primarily via distance learning. Also presented are data about (a) how the course participants responded to material presented in the online format and (b) their level of satisfaction with the learning environment. As an investigation of what might be considered current best practice, both successes and difficulties that characterized the course are highlighted. A number of suggestions are made for improvements and recommendations for the delivery of media-enhanced web-based courses in AAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-277
Number of pages14
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank all those who assisted in the preparation, production, and uploading of the web-based course materials for their valued assistance and contributions. Special thanks go to Pnina Bialik, who has been an extremely supportive partner throughout this entire project, from the initial formulation and pre-planning phases, for her help in writing the course content and organizing its syllabus. We are grateful to the administration of the Kibbutzim College of Education, to the Gimprich Family Foundation, and to Ramot Engineering’s ISAAC (Israel) research grant for recognizing the importance of developing this web-based course and for allocating the necessary financial recourses. We also extend our thanks to all course participants for their compliance in completing all questionnaires and interviews. The authors also wish to extend their thanks to Tzachi Ashkenazi for his assistance with data analysis, and to Naty Schwartz and Deborah S. Jacobs for their help in the translation of the paper. This article is based in part on a presentation at the 10th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Odense, Denmark, August, 2002.


  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • Distance education
  • Online learning
  • Professional training
  • Teacher education
  • Web-based instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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