Spanning the digital divide: a remote IT learning environment for the vision impaired
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This is a reprint from a paper published in the Proceedings of the IADIS International Conferences. The conference paper can be found on the IADIS website: http://www.iadis.org
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 access via assistive technologies; however these aids provide only limited access to educational materials designed for sighted students. An e-learning environment designed specifically for students with vision and print disabilities has been designed by the authors and implemented by the Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired (CAVI) for delivery of accessible Cisco certification courses to provide the vision impaired with the skills to design and maintain computer networks. This accessible e-learning environment comprises two main sections, the accessible curriculum and the collaborative e-learning environment. This paper describes the virtual classroom and remote laboratory that comprise the collaborative e-learning environment. Other educational institutions wishing to develop similar environments may benefit from this environment in their quest to deliver education to meet the special needs of the adult vision impaired learner.
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