Do Academics Ignore the Difficulties that Visually Impaired Students Face while Accessing VLE Content?

D. O' Reilly (Ireland)


VLE, internet, accessibility


As academics increase their use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to deliver content to their students, the needs of visually impaired students are being overlooked. The incorrect usage of VLEs is resulting in many visually impaired students being disadvantaged. This is happening despite the emphasis on equal access for all to higher education. If the electronic content that is uploaded onto Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) is intended to be used by students about whom no presumptions of visual ability can be made, then accessibility must be guaranteed for all users. This paper shows that the majority of accessibility problems that exist for visually impaired students result from academics not using the guidelines that are available. The reasons as to why academics do not follow any guidelines are probed. This paper is based on the quantitative analysis of a survey conducted on 52 academics from nine Irish Institute of Technology in November 2009.

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