What do MOOC providers think about accessibility?

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Rebecca Ferguson
15 May 2017

Francisco Iniesto, Patrick McAndrew, Shailey Minocha and Tim Coughlan

Abstract:MOOCs have become an accepted way to make learning opportunities available at large scale and low cost to the learner. However, only if these are made accessible will they be able to offer flexibility of learning and benefits to all, irrespective of disability. Experience in providing accessible online learning at distance universities suggests that this can be best achieved through understanding different roles and the options in planning for adjustments to be made. To effectively apply similar approaches to MOOCs, it is necessary to understand the various viewpoints and roles of stakeholders and how these impact on accessibility. This includes educators who create materials and facilitate learning, and technologists who develop and maintain platforms. We report the results from a study involving semi-structured interviews to investigate the perceptions and accessibility-related processes of technical specialists, course teams, accessibility specialists, educational content specialists and MOOC researchers focused on three main topics:
• Data availability and knowledge about disabled learners.
• Accessibility and daily work, in dealing with course providers and the platform.
• MOOCs and adaptation, how to show the information to the learner.
An inductive approach for coding the interviews has been followed using transcripts of the interviews; the results show that there is a lack of data collection on disability in eLearning, either by building profiles or during registration processes, they show awareness that MOOCs can be valuable for disabled learners, and indicate that legislation acts as a driver for accessibility. However, our investigations suggest limited progress to date in either producing universally accessible MOOCs, or tailoring MOOCs to meet the needs of individual disabled learners.

 

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