Higher education is facing many challenges, as it is being constantly reshaped by the digital evolution. In order to provide open education, we have to follow the rapid scientific and technological development and create different types of learning management systems accessible for everyone.
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application for administration, documentation, reporting and delivery of educational courses or training programs. They help the HEI staff deliver course material to the students, administer tests and other assignments, track student progress, and manage record-keeping. LMSs are focused on on-line learning delivery but support a range of uses, acting as a platform for fully-fledged on-line courses, as well as for several hybrid forms, such as blended learning and flipped classrooms. An LMS provides interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums. One of the characteristics of the LMS is the possibility to access content via mobile phones and tablets, and therefore to also receive real-time notifications for different aspects of the teaching process.
Some cloud-based LMSs adequate for HEIs are: Adobe Captivate Prime, Talent LMS, The Academy LMS; Moodle, Eliademy, ILIAS, Canvas, Blackboard and others. In the process of selection of the most appropriate LMS for HEI several features need to be taken into consideration: Low costs; Infrastructural possibilities and integration (with the standard procedures for classroom management, evaluation, quality assessment etc.).
Providing an accessible e-learning system for students with disabilities will encourage them to continue their education and will allow them to acquire more skills and competencies. This technology will provide people with disabilities with adaptive and personalized learning experiences tailored to their particular educational needs and personal characteristics. This leads towards more employment opportunities, active social inclusion and improvement of quality of life.
In that context, one of the main objectives of the project is to create a generic model of an accessible LMS in the early stage of development for usage in the humanities and social sciences.
Other objectives include:
– Creating a methodological framework for accessible LMSs and selection of the most appropriate LMS for HEI usage in the area of the humanities and social sciences;
– Creating and implementing software for managing complex databases combined with digital frameworks for managing curriculum, training materials, and evaluation tools for all students including students with disabilities;
– Modifying the LMSs already in use by HEI’s in the partner countries, so that they are accessible for students with disabilities;
– Creating a mobile application for easy LMS access;
– Creating and achieving on-line delivery of a training e-module for LMS usage by students with disabilities;
– Fostering open pedagogy methods and approaches;
– Empowering students (including disadvantaged learners) and HEI staff with new knowledge and new ICT and media literacy skills regarding LMS usage.