Striving for Inclusion in E-Learning and E-Health

Striving for Inclusion in E-Learning and E-Health

Sandra Sanchez-Gordon
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7552-9.ch003
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The purpose of this chapter is to present a seven-year journey to understand the barriers that people face when interacting with e-learning and e-health online platforms and to come up with software engineering solutions to make these platforms more inclusive. This chapter per the author presents a set of contributions intended to serve as steppingstones to future research efforts. These contributions include a literature review about accessibility of e-learning platforms; the accessibility audit of e-learning and e-health platforms; the identification of accessibility requirements; the design of architectures, process, and models to improve accessibility; and the definition of a life cycle for the management of accessible online courses. In this context, this chapter relate the evolution of the research process followed and summarize the results obtained so far.
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I have no legs,

But I still have feelings,

I cannot see,

But I think all the time,

Although I’m deaf,

I still want to communicate,

Why do people see me as useless, thoughtless, talkless,

When I am as capable as any,

For thoughts about our world.

Coralie Severs, 14 years old, United Kingdom. (UNICEF, 2009)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 to identify and promote the observance of rights and freedoms to which all human beings are entitled regardless any condition (Gordon, 2018).

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes the right to medical care:

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. (United Nations, 1948)

In addition, Article 26 establishes the right to education:

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. (United Nations, 1948)

In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) with the support of 159 signatories and 151 ratifications. The CRPD proposes a new approach to human rights monitoring and enforcement, shifting the responsibility for disability from individuals and caretakers to society and government (United Nations, 2006). Kanter (2015) reflects on the importance of the CRPD envisioning a world where persons with disabilities are recognized as right holders entitled to full and equal citizenship, as well as social participation and inclusion.

The CRPD establishes that States Parties must take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications technology, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the general public (Kanter, 2015) (United Nations, 2008).

The CRPD recognizes in Article 24 that persons with disabilities have the right to education without discrimination and based on equal opportunity:

Key Terms in this Chapter

OER: Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials that may be freely used and reused.

MOOC: A type of online course that can accept massive number of students without prerequisites.

WCAG: A set of guidelines to maximize the accessibility of web content.

Usability: The quality or state of being usable, ease of use.

WAI: An initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium to promote the accessibility of the web.

Disability: A consequence of environmental barriers that limits a person’s activities or participation in a permanent or temporal fashion.

ATAG: A set of guidelines to maximize the accessibility of authoring tools used to produce web content.

Accessibility: Extend to which a person can access and use an object, reach a place, or obtain a service.

Inclusion: The act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability).

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