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Volume 22 / Issue 7

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-022-07-0921


Towards a Semantic Definition of a Framework to Implement Accessible e-Learning Projects

Hector R. Amado-Salvatierra (Universidad Galileo, Guatemala)

José R. Hilera (Universidad de Alcala, Spain)

Salvador Otón Tortosa (Universidad de Alcala, Spain)

Rocael Hernández Rizzardini (Universidad Galileo,, Guatemala)

Nelson Piedra (Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador)

Abstract: The growth of education faces a constant evolution, and the adoption of new technologies for education is reflected in the inclusion of virtual courses in the educational process. However, accessibility in cloud-based applications, virtual platforms and online courses has not been widely taken into account in the educational process. In this sense, the inclusion of accessibility features for online applications and digital content represents a very important benefit for everyone, but in the context of e-learning, it is imperative for students with disabilities. The lack of interest and awareness in online accessibility for education is especially evident in developing countries that do not have legislation that encourages stakeholders to bear in mind accessibility features for web-based applications and contents.

This paper proposes a methodological framework to take into account accessibility in the different processes of the life cycle of a virtual educational project. In this work, a semantic definition based on a conceptual model of the identified components for this methodology is presented. The proposed methodology has been prepared under an iterative design process, based on an international standard and complemented with online resources for dissemination.

In order to validate and improve the methodological framework, seven accessible virtual training courses were prepared following the phases and components defined in the methodology. The seven courses were promoted in an open call for participation launched in Latin America with the support of a cooperation initiative between European and Latin American universities called ESVI-AL. At the end of the experience, a total of 748 teachers and 937 students from 150 different educational institutions were enrolled. The participants in the experience provided comments and suggestions for further improvement. The proposed work is intended to be used as a reference for educational institutions to identify the necessary changes needed to incorporate accessibility into their own production processes for virtual courses.

Keywords: accessibility, educational technology, instructional design, ontologies

Categories: K.3.1, K.4.2, K.4.3, K.5.0, L.1.3, L.1.4, L.2.2, L.3.0, L.3.5