The first intellectual output within the FAST project (December, 2018 – April, 2019) will result in the creation of a methodological framework for an accessible Learning Management System in Humanities and Social Sciences.
In order to generate such a framework, we needed to design the desk-top and field research. The research phase started in December – with the very start of the project – by defining the research instruments for the field and desk-top research. In order to have a triangulation of data sources we decided to conduct a combined research by using qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
In January, 2019 the test phase was realized. We organized and conducted several semi-structured interviews and inquiries in order to confirm the questions. This test phase resulted in minor adjustments in research instruments.
In February, 2019 we will administer the actual research. All participants will sign an informed consent which guaranties their anonymity and confidentiality of data. For the desk-top and field research, several protocols were created in English and translated in Macedonian, Portuguese, Lithuanian and Danish:
- Protocol for desk-top research. The desk-top research will be conducted by the researchers and project members from the coordinator country and the partner countries. The goal is to get information regarding the historical and current trends regarding the use of an LMS in each country respectively and its accessibility. This desk-top research will also show what are the benefits and challenges in LMS use as well as the interoperability and accessibility challenges.
- Protocol for semi-structured interview with persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities are a vital part of our research and the project in general. The challenges and barriers they face during accessing educational content will be integrated in the creation phase of the accessible LMS. Twenty semi-structure interviews (a maximum of 80 interviews) with students with disabilities (deaf and hard of hearing students; students which are visually impaired; students with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia and students with mobility issues) will be conducted in each country.
- Protocol for focus group with IT experts. One focus group with 10 participants will be organized in each country (4 focus groups and 40 participants in total). The IT experts and their experiences will give us information regarding the possibilities for the creation of an accessible LMS, the challenges and problems we may encounter and how to overcome them.
- Inquiry for high school students with disabilities. Having in mind that the current high school students with disabilities will be the main beneficiaries of the accessible LMS we decided to conduct an inquiry in several special secondary schools as well as in mainstream secondary schools which include pupils with disabilities. Their knowledge of e-learning systems, their social presence and the type of smart technology they use will give us valuable input for the direction in which this LMS will be created.
The analysis phase will take place in March, 2019. By the end of April, 2019 the methodological framework will be created and published. This will mark the end of the first intellectual output.