Are Accessible Distance Learning Systems Useful for All students?: Our Experience with IMES, an Accessible Web-based Learning System

Are Accessible Distance Learning Systems Useful for All students?: Our Experience with IMES, an Accessible Web-based Learning System

Ana Iglesias (Department of Computer Science, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain), Lourdes Moreno (Department of Computer Science, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain), Elena Castro (Department of Computer Science, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain) and Dolores Cuadra (Department of Computer Science, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/ijwltt.2014010101

Abstract

Nowadays the use of distance learning systems is widely extended in engineering education. Moreover, most of them use multimedia resources that sometimes are the only educational material available to provide certain educational knowledge to the students. Unfortunately, most of the current educational systems and their educational content present accessibility barriers so some students cannot access to these educational resources. This paper introduces IMES, an inclusive system designed to ensure that students of all abilities can access the educational content of the system. But, are all the students (not only students with disabilities) satisfied with this kind of inclusive applications? Are they useful for all the students? One hundred and eight students participated in the evaluation of the system during an academic course at Universidad Carlos III of Madrid. The evaluation shows that the system presents educational benefits to all the students in terms of usefulness and user's satisfaction.
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Nowadays, universities and instructors are required to ensure that every student, regardless of their personal features, can enjoy the same educational opportunities (Babu & Midha, 2007). This is why inclusive education has been a prominent area of research since the 1990s.

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