Advanced IT education for the vision impaired via e-learning
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Lack of accessibility in the design of e-learning courses continues to hinder students with vision impairment. E-learning materials are predominantly vision-centric, incorporating images, animation, and interactive media, and as a result students with acute vision impairment do not have equal opportunity to gain tertiary qualifications or skills relevant to the marketplace and their disability. Due to its logical, rather than physical, nature IT help desk and network administration roles are ideal for people who are blind. This paper describes the development of a fully accessible e-learning environment to deliver advanced IT network curriculum to adults with acute vision disabilities. The components include a virtual classroom, accessible learning materials, a remote computer laboratory, and delivery of the learning materials by vision impaired instructors. Industry standard courses in advanced IT were redeveloped, and the accessible on-line learning environment was developed to deliver the courses. Vision impaired students who excelled in the pilot project were trained as instructors, gaining industry-standard instructor certifications. These instructors were used to assist with the design of accessible methods and delivered the materials to the vision impaired students.The project has been operational for four years with a pilot project being conducted over a two year period, followed by the delivery of the courses both local and remote vision impaired students across the globe using this accessible e-learning environment for the past two years. Evaluation results indicate that vision impaired students situated both locally and remotely gained equivalent grades to their sighted counterparts given additional time to comprehend and experiment via the virtual classroom and remote computer laboratory. In addition, the use of vision impaired instructors has resulted in more innovative approaches to accessible teaching methods and delivery of the curriculum.
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Permvattana, Ruchireak (2012)Sighted learners and vision impaired learners experience different problems when accessing e-learning environments. Web designers use complex visual images and interactive features which learners with vision impairment ...
Armstrong, Helen; Murray, Iain; Mohamadi, N. (2010)People who are vision impaired continue to experience difficulty in accessing tertiary education relevant to their disability due to inaccessible learning environments. The nature of acute vision disabilities requires ...
Armstrong, Helen; Murray, Iain (2007)Vision-impaired students face tremendous obstacles in their quest to access learning materials delivered in web-based and other electronic formats. The predominance of visual prompts, use of flash and animation and the ...