E-learning in higher education: designing for diversiity
"This research was conducted to compare methods of e-learning accessibility evaluation that may be applied in a higher education context. Results of ""objective"" accessibility evaluation of e-learning technologies using automated tools were compared to results of ""subjective"" accessibility evaluation with student participants. It was found that objective and subjective accessibility evaluation of e-leaming technologies both yield useful, albeit different, information. To further explore subjective accessibility evaluation, results and student perceptions were compared following moderated and unmoderated testing sessions. Neither the efficiency of completing tasks in a sample online course nor the number of accessibility problems detected were deemed significantly affected by the format of the testing session. However, most students prefened to participate in an unmoderated testing session where they felt less self-conscious and as though they could interact more naturally with the technology. Findings from this study point to the importance of considering not only objective accessibility evaluation and accessibility guideline conformance as measures of the accessibility of e-leaming technologies, but also the subjective experiences of students as they engage with the technologies. There is also value in taking a holistic approach towards evaluating e-learning accessibility by considering the accessibility of learning outcomes (factoring in the learning context to the evaluation) in addition to the accessibility of individual e-learning technologies. Because accessibility is a variable that is important to all students, and not just students with disabilities, it is critical that institutions of higher education work with a variety of stakeholders to determine not only how best to evaluate e-leaming accessibility, but also how to ensure that the results of accessibility evaluation are widely disseminated in a manner that is likely to have a broad impact on enhancing e-leaming accessibility for diverse student populations."