I am currently working on a paper for “Computers and Education” entitled: “E-learning, Accessibility & Pedagogy: In search of the missing tools of practice” By Jane Seale & Martyn Cooper.
This paper has the central argument that what we are seeking to achieve in accessibility in eLearning is access to the learning not primarily access to the technology.
Here are a few highlights from that paper:
- Many accessibility related tools exist, but they do not seem to be having much impact on teachers and teaching practice in further and higher education
- This variability in accessibility suggests that a different set of tools may be needed to help teachers develop their accessibility practice further
- It is widely agreed that there is a link between effective pedagogy and effective use of technology.
- Pedagogical tools are tools that mediate a teachers’ action, offering clear and detailed principles regarding learning that can be easily and readily translated into teaching practice
Two sets of pedagogical tools that are worth exploring further are models and theories of learning and learning design tools.
Different pedagogical models have different implications for accessibility and this is further discussed in the paper. For example Laurillard has set forward a conversational model of teaching and learning. (See: Laurillard, D. (1993) Rethinking university teaching, Routledge, London.) This is often used to analyse the roles of different technical features in an eLearning context. However it can as equally readily be used to analyse where accessibility accommodations are required and their nature.
The roles and responsibilities for educators (as opposed to technicians) in accessibility has previously been discussed in another paper of mine: “Cooper M., Making Online Learning Accessible – the role of the educator and issues for the educational institution – reflections on experiences at the Open University, Association of Learning Technology Journal (ALT-J), Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 103–115, March 2006.”