Accessibility to Moodle E- Learning Platform by the Students with Visual Impairments at Malcolm Moffat College of Education
Ndume, Sarah Muyoma
MetadataShow full item record
In the recent past the world has experienced the most deadly Covid -19 pandemic which has claimed many lives of people. The effects of the pandemic did not only affect the economy but also other social sectors such as health and education. This situation caused most learning institutions to provide virtual learning pedagogies to ensure sustainability in teaching and learning. The purpose of this study was to determine if Moodle E-learning platform, was accessible for visually impaired students. The study was guided by the following objectives; what are the experiences of students with visual impairments in online learning environments with regards to Moodle learning platform? What challenges do students with visual impairments face in Moodle online learning environments? What strategies can be employed to enhance their accessibility of Moodle online learning platform? A case study design was used in this study. The population consisted of all the visually impaired students and lecturers at Malcolm Moffat College of Education whilst the sample size was sixteen of which eight were visually impaired students and eight were lecturers. Semi- structured interviews were used to collect data and thematic analysis was used to analyze data based on the themes that emerged in the study. The study revealed that only those students coming from well to do families were able to access specialized gadgets with speech synthesizers which enabled them to access Moodle E- learning platform. The study also revealed that some visually impaired students were not able to access Moodle E-learning platform due reasons ranging from unavailability of gadgets such as computers and I- phones with speech synthesizers. This category of visually impaired students relied on friends and relatives to assist them. It was also revealed that most of the visually impaired student came from rural areas where they are challenges in internet connectivity. Additionally, students with visual impairments complained that it was expensive for them to buy data for eight courses on a daily basis. The study also revealed that it was challenging for the lecturers to prepare virtual lessons that would meet the needs of the visually impaired students and most of them did not have knowledge and skill to handle Moodle E-learning platform to its full potential. It was suggested that the visually impaired students should be thoroughly oriented on how to handle Moodle. It was also suggested that government should consider subsidizing the import of specialized gadgets for visually impaired persons. Additionally, the strength of internet connectivity should be improved in rural areas and the cost of data should be reduced to encourage students to access Moodle. It was therefore recommended that, lecturers and students with visual impairments should be provided with refresher courses on how to use E- learning in order for them to be updated with the new trends in accessing Moodle E- learning platform.