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Opportunities and barriers

Opportunities and barriers for lecturers and visually impaired students

This manual is constructed in such a way that anyone interested can easily locate advice, tips and examples concerning concrete topic complexes.
The "Manual" is neither exhaustive nor complete. It reflects the experiences of the visually impaired students in Karlsruhe with new multi-media teaching and learning techniques in the project period up to the end of 2003. The open collection of experiences and recommendations represents the beginning of work which needs to be carried on continuously. We would be glad to receive further suggestions and additions.

E-Learning poses new challenges for technology, accessibility to study material and communication between students and lecturers.
What problems arise?
What prerequisites must be met to make new technologies and presentation forms accessible for visually impaired students?
How do those involved compensate for problems they encounter?
To approach these issues an empirical PDF-document for downloadquestionnaire was developed together with visually impaired students. In the summer semester of 2003 person-to-person interviews were conducted with individual students. The interviews were based on 14 learning scenarios. Besides the lectures and presentations visited, the questions which were posed concerned work performed both before and after the respective lectures and the learning process at each location and at each time.

In addition we asked two Universitšt of Karlsruhe employees, one blind and one partially sighted, to complete the questionnaire. We took advantage of this possibility to enrich our evaluation by including experiences made after leaving university. The questions were focussed on working environment, use of working aids and work content. We were interested in the role E-Learning plays in the working environment within the university and the level of accessibility provided for visually-impaired employees in this sector.

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