Workshops were divided in 3 parallel working groups, which then had plenum in between:
- Moodle specialists/IT
Workshop part 1: Problems and benefits.
Discussion by Moodle specialists/IT: The first problem is that the IT guys do not interact much with students with disabilities, and they do not know much about people with disabilities. However, one person in the group has worked with students with disabilities and can tell that they prolong exam time for students with dyslexia.
The problem they agreed on was that teachers are not aware of how to use and exploit Moodle for students with disabilities, and that is a problem because they are the ones that must provide and prepare the content. They also talked about teachers needing to create material that is accessible for people with disabilities and how learning software should have a lower learning curve.
Other problems touched upon:
– Teachers do not want to share courses with other teachers.
– Students who hide disability, because they fear social stigma or students who first got their disability identified a lot later after they began school.
On the benefit side, they all agreed it was obvious that it is about students being able to access material used in lecture at any time.
They also discussed how to make an accessible platform for all 8 categories of disability:
– Having a template for each category and a default on
– Having a general login, and then you can optionally choose which category you belong to
To get the most benefit out of Moodle, the teachers must produce better content, another challenge is about profiling people because disability is a large spectrum, which then leads to the question of what is the correct template for interface?
They also told us that a profile should not be imposed on the students, which means that it should be optional.
They want the content creators to produce more content. They also pointed out the fact that there is also a communication problem between all parties.
Discussion by Students: They have been focusing on hearing, visual and reading impairments and how to make material more accessible for these three categories:
– Fonts: Some fonts are more accessible than other fonts
– An option to enlarge text.
– For people with hearing impairment: Text into sign language – videos and easy to read text
– For people with reading impairment: A focus on fonts, audio and colour contrast to make it easier to read.
Benefits: They told us that people get less isolated, because they have easier access to education.
– They spoke about how people with physical disabilities get access to education
– Materials and methods to improve education for people with disabilities: Cursive letters, shorter sentence, less abstraction and text to speech
– Benefits: Increased accessibility – Self-learning – People with disabilities can get education they want.
– Pointed out that they had never highlighted that e-learning might lead to the people with disabilities isolating themselves, and due to this social isolation, they are not very competent in the labour market.
Workshop part 2: Accessibility.
For this part of the workshop there were 3 questions:
- Who is responsible for accessibility?
- What are we seeking to make accessible?
- What should educators know technically?
You should ask yourself how you can motivate teachers, and if the student(s) should participate in development of LMS.
Accessibility: short introductory video
- Video goes through the different ways to make your platform more accessible to people with various types of disabilities, or just people in general: Some examples of this:
- Voice recognition: Benefits people with disabilities, or people who like to multi-task
- Good design: Makes it not confusing for people with cognitive disabilities and benefits people in general, because it gives a better user experience.
- Notifications and feedback: People get confused if they are not informed that their action has done something, so it must be predictable and understandable.
- Large buttons and links: Handy for people with physical disabilities and for sites meant to be on phones.
- Keyboard compatibility: Being able to navigate a site with keyboard only.
Moodle specialists: Their answer to the question is that everyone is responsible, because they all have an important role to play
They want to make it more it more accessible by streamlining the distribution of materials, the process to streamline is like this: The platform must be available and accessible to students and the public in general – the teacher should know that the platform exists – the students must then try to convince the teachers to use this platform. They also suggest notifying, when a PDF file is not accessible, e.g. an image cannot be read aloud by a screen reading.
Discussion about developing a screen reader plug-in that reads content and not code, since Macedonia does not have a dedicated screen read, they talked about how Macedonia could develop it from scratch.
To help educators, they suggested to make advisory guidelines that they called: Initial guidelines for standardisation of accessible online teaching.
- Transversal problem, which means that from the beginning there should be focus on cooperation on all levels that mean everyone should be aware even students, who are should pressure teachers and participate in development of content for Moodle.
- Advisory guidelines for teachers.
Teachers: They spoke about how teachers need motivation and that guidelines are important, also IT guys and students can teach them. Teachers must also learn how to use Moodle to the point of having a general idea how to make content but must also get broad student feedback to improve the content.
- Teachers must be aware of how to make accessible content, which they must be taught
- Students are central in this learning process
- Uploading video on Moodle with a restricted link
When making a video for teachers, you must not make it too long, because they would not sit through for example the how to use Moodle video that is three hours long.
Video about design in Moodle
- about quiz design and how people should not to overuse it.
- How do we involve teachers, students and IT guys from the very beginning?
- Focus on accessibility from the beginning
- Remember to not look into boxes in the process, which means thinking outside the box.
You can download Henrik’s Powerpoint presentation for the day on our Resources page.
Summarised by Hüseyin Koc
Photos (mainly) by Asta Slapikaitė