Addressing Accessibility of MOOCs for Blind Users: Hearing Aid for Screen Orientation

Addressing Accessibility of MOOCs for Blind Users: Hearing Aid for Screen Orientation

Teresita de Jesús Álvarez Robles (Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico), Alfredo Mendoza González (Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, México), Alma Rosa García Gaona (Universidad Veracruzana, México), and Francisco Alvarez Rodríguez (Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes, México)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9743-0.ch009
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The concept of universal access to information society stands for the guaranteed access for all people in the world to internet services, online learning including. Blind users have been benefited by accessible tools such as screen readers, auditory interfaces, etc., nevertheless this kind of external software would not be required if the blind user's requirements were taking into account since the design process. This chapter presents a set of guidelines for designing hearing messages that help blind students to navigate in a MOOC's interface.
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The advantages of e-learning have been widely documented in literature. Nowadays more and more institutions have extended their programs to distance and online education, changing the tradition way things in education were doing. MOOCs have enhanced e-learning by giving the opportunity to students to have official certificates, high-qualified instructors in renowned institution. Nevertheless, the pedagogic protocols have to be transformed away from the traditional in-classroom perspective.

Universal Access to Information Society is a whole philosophy that encourages efforts to assure equal access to digital services such as internet, e-learning, cloud services and mobile technology to all people in the world. Equal access has a wide meaning, including ease of use and delightful user experience, goals that only can be achieved when the technology includes all users' requirements and goals in its design. On this point, blind users' needs of computer based technology has limited satisfied.

Accessibility tools like screen readers generally requires third party software; implying that users, besides learning the way the main software works, also have to learn to use this accessibility tool (and expend additional money to purchase it).

This situation in MOOCs' field makes the student required a double learning effort: learn the academic content (the main objective of the course) and learn how the user interface (menus, tools, and all interactive elements) works with this third party software. Accessibility in MOOCs must include ways to attend blind people's requirements, with tools that do not require additional cognitive load.

This chapter is focused in presenting a interface navigation tool that facilitates the interaction of blind users with all the element of a graphical user interface of an online course, converting the mouse in a cane.

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