What would you change about the way in which students are supported in your institution and why?
At least four post-secondary groupings have a stake in accessibility and e-learning in colleges and universities:
- service providers
- the e-learning professionals on campus.
All four groups indicated, via online questionnaires, problems with:
- accessibility of websites and course/learning management systems (CMS)
- accessibility of digital audio and video
- inflexible time limits built into online exams
- PowerPoint/data projection during lectures
- course materials in PDF
- lack of needed adaptive technologies.
When it comes to e-learning problems and solutions the nature of students' disabilities and impairments can have an important impact. Therefore, in Table 5 we present the most common problems and solutions for students with different disabilities.
This shows that the most popular solution for students with all types of disabilities is unresolved.
For most groups of students, solving e-learning problems by using non e-learning solutions was also popular. In addition to the common problems of inaccessibility of websites and course management systems and technical difficulties, which seem to pose problems for students regardless of the nature of their disability, students with learning disabilities and students with mobility impairments and arm/hand issues also had problems due to their lack of knowledge about how to use e-learning effectively. Students with psychiatric and with health issues noted problems due to poor use of e-learning by professors. Students with hearing impairments, not surprisingly, had problems related to the accessibility of audio and video materials. Students with visual impairments had problems related to the accessibility of course notes and materials, especially those in PDF. When their problem had a solution it was through non e-learning solutions, such as having someone read the materials aloud to them or through alternative formats or using adaptive technologies. (Fichten et al 2009:249)
One means of addressing problems involving inaccessibility of websites and course management systems, of elearning broadly, and of specific materials, such as course notes and audio and video clips is through training of professors. Many colleges and universities already offer training on how to integrate e-learning in teaching and on how to use specific e-learning tools. (Fichten et al 2009:253)
Fichten, C. S., Ferraro, V., Asuncion, J. V., Chwojka, C., Barile, M., Nguyen, M. N., & ... Wolforth, J. (2009). Disabilities and e-Learning Problems and Solutions: An Exploratory Study. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), 241-256.