Access problems with on-line education?greenspun.com : LUSENET : MCU - Accessible Web Design : One Thread
Last July I wrote an article for the Times Educational Supplement- Scotland, (Opinions, 13th July, 2001) "Are disabled students set to lose out in the digital revolution?". In the article I looked at how the rush towards providing more on-line provision within education could end up leaving many disabled students behind.
I took to heart the warning by Cyndi Rowland in her article Accessibil ity of the Internet in Post-secondary Education: Meeting the Challenge,The winds of change have blown over postsecondary education. As Internet technologies transform our educational experiences, so these technologies create a wide chasm.
In my own article I suggested some practical steps further education institutions could take to tackle the ever more pressing problems related to Web accessibility. In summary, I suggested, training for those involved in creating and updating Web sites, access audits of exisisting Websites, and adherence to standards to ensure that new sites are built in a way that will make them accessible to everyone.
I can't say in truth the article made much of an impact at the time - but I can report that from the increased number of e-mails and request for help I am now getting that my predictions may well becoming true quicker than I thought. I am aware of courses where the 'online learning environment' is being used as the primary delivery channel - and that this is causing problems for students. It is causing problems in particular for students who are blind or who have a visual impairment.
Do we have a problem with inaccessible Web sites in further education? Is it getting worse or better?
-- Anonymous, February 19, 2002
Speaking as a student, I think the problem will get worse before it gets better. In the rush to provide on-line seducational services the sometimes complex issues with regards to accessibility are likely to be marginalised, at least in the initial phase.
Given the current lack of accessibility of on-line education is it reasonable to assume that as more complexity is added accessibility will improve, sadly I believe the inverse is more likely.
-- Anonymous, March 22, 2002
I know your post is old but for those that happen upon it like I did, I offer the following which may be of interest.
The folks at the University of Toronto's Adaptive Technology Resource Centre have been developing a Learning Content Management System called ATutor.
It is free, supports multiple languages, is open source and conforms to W3C WCAG 1.0 accessibility specifications at the AA+ level.
Those interested might like to visit http://www.atutor.ca/ for more information.
All the best.
-- Anonymous, October 07, 2004