Inclusion in an Electronic Classroom: Courseware Design and Implementation

Inclusion in an Electronic Classroom: Courseware Design and Implementation

Robert Luke (University of Toronto, Canada) and Laurie Harrison (University of Toronto, Canada)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-107-0.ch006
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Abstract

Providing educational opportunities within online environments, while beneficial, also has the potential to exclude a significant portion of the population.  Those who are learning and physically disabled may be prevented from accessing online learning environments due to problems in the design of the technology, as well as with the pedagogy directing the use of this technology. Inclusion in an Electronic Classroom was funded by the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) and examined accessibility within various courseware platforms in order to better assess both the technological and pedagogical issues associated with the general educational shift toward providing learning opportunities within online learning networks.2 This paper presents a summary of the results of this study alongside recommendations for ensuring equitable access within online, courseware-enabled, networked learning.  The study data are placed within a framework that examines the technical and pedagogical ramifications of accessibility issues and online learning environments, specifically, courseware environments currently used in today’s online educational market. The findings are compared with the associated guidelines and checkpoints in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and provide a useful framework for consideration of the current challenges and the opportunities at hand for courseware authoring tool developers.3

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