Development and Implementation of innovative Learning Management Systems accessible for persons with disabilities
Start date: May 7, 2019
End date: May 31, 2020
Output 2 will result in the creation of an accessible LMS for the humanities and social sciences at the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius and the adaptation of the current LMSs in the HEI of the partner countries, with the purpose of making them more accessible for students with special needs. Researchers and IT staff of all participating organisations will take part in transnational learning and training activities (C1), and will acquire skills for the development of a platform and the creation of blocks and plug-ins for making the LMS more accessible. This output also implies the implementation of the accessible LMS in the three HEI (Macedonia, Lithuania and Portugal).
Its innovative value lies in the accessibility of the Learning Management System and in developing increased compatibility with assistive technology, easy connection with screen readers and voice-recognition software for visually impaired persons. Regarding persons with specific learning difficulties, the LMS will enable support for usage of a Cyrillic open dyslexia font; apps in sign language for the hearing impaired students as well as user tours in sign language especially for the more abstract fields; and for students with different types of disabilities the LMS will provide simplification of the menu, improvement of page navigation, interface personalization, introduction of user-tours for students etc.
The tangible outcome of this output is the operational LMS, which will contribute to a higher level of social inclusion for the disadvantaged learners in different types of activities (blogs, webinars, on-line discussion forums etc.).
This newly created accessible LMS will have a large impact on the manner LMSs are perceived and used. Having in mind that the accessible LMS will be an open source educational software, it is obvious that the transferability potential is immense.
All universities and education institutions in general will have the opportunity to use this innovative product to make their existent LMSs accessible for students with special needs, which is where the large impact and opportunity for transfer of positive practices on a university level are shown.
IO2/A1: Exploring the possibilities of the participating organisations for the application of a LMS or the adaptation of the existent ones: selection of the most suitable LMS (Moodle, Blackboard, Google classroom and others), and defining the LMS that will be used in the FAST project. This will be done through field research of the existent capacities on the universities but also through an on-line forum. On this on-line forum which will be created for the purposes of this project, professionals from different areas of expertise and different countries (beside the countries-participants in this project) will be invited, and will contribute with their ideas, suggestions, proposals and recommendations.
IO2/A2: Creating new blocks and plug-ins for students with special needs, which are missing in the initial installation.
IO2/A3: Implementation of the accessible LMS. During this activity, some elective courses at the Universities (5-6 at each University depending on their extensiveness) will be selected and tested. This will allow for the possibility to transfer knowledge for the LMS usage from the project expert team and IT team to HEI staff and students, including students with special needs.
Output type: Services / structures. E-learning platform.
The leading organisation for this IO is the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, which will create an accessible LMS. The European Training Center Copenhagen will train participants from the HEI for development of an accessible LMS (C1) and within this output will monitor the implementation of OI/A1, OI/A2 and OI/A3. The partners from Lithuania and Portugal will adjust their existent LMS according to the suggestions for accessibility.
The leading organisation will create the on-line forum and will gather and analyse the data. They will give the recommendation for the LMS most suitable for application of the accessible installation.
The methodology of this IO will be consisted of three phases: Creation phase, Testing phase and Implementation Phase.
1. In the Creation Phase, after acquiring information regarding the initial status of the organisations, the most feasible LMS will be chosen regarding the possibility for additional features for students with special needs.
2. The Testing Phase will entail installation of the LMS, and addition of the features needed for the students with disabilities.
3. In the Implementation Phase, each of the participating organisations will implement and activate the accessible learning management system and will enable transfer of knowledge by different activities among the HEI staff and students.