We asked our student participants to rate the level of accessibility of specific forms of eLearning that they would have used in the courses they took.
To frame their responses, a bit of demographic information - the 245 students who completed the online survey were enrolled in colleges and universities and represent nine of ten provinces, the exception being Prince Edward Island. There were no students from the Territories. Students were instructed to indicate all of their disabilities/ impairments. The five most common disabilities/impairments that students declared were:
1. Learning disability (42%)
2. ADD/ADHD (20%)
3. Psychological/psychiatric disability (16%)
4. Mobility impairment / wheelchair user (16%)
5. Health or medically related impairment (15%)
It is worth noting that almost half of the students (44%) indicated having more than one disability/impairment.
In terms of their “level of accessibility” ratings for the types of eLearning that they encountered in their courses, the top five most accessible for all students, based on 245 respondents were:
2. course-related files in Word, PowerPoint etc.;
3. WebCT, BlackBoard, FirstClass or other course/learning management system;
4. course web pages; and
5. in-class presentations using PowerPoint.
The least accessible forms of eLearning for all students with disabilities were:
2. live online voice-based chat (speaking and listening);
3. audio clips / files (e.g., recorded class lectures);
4. online content that uses Flash; and
5. CD-ROM tutorials used in class or computer labs.
It goes without saying that these rankings are different if filtered by different disabilities / impairments. For example, the most accessible form of eLearning for students who are blind was course-related files in Word, PowerPoint, etc. and the least accessible was PowerPoint presentations viewed online using a browser.
For those of you actively working in eLearning with persons with disabilities, how closely does this relate to your realities?