The learning experience of a visually impaired learner regarding emergency blended teaching and learning at a higher education institution
Keywords:JAWS, Assistive technology, Visual impairment, Disabilities, Moodle, Blended learning
Disability or impairment in general does not deprive one of the rights to basic human needs and care. However, often people with disabilities encounter barriers such as unfriendly infrastructure to access basic services such as education and health care. In this paper the authors explore the experiences of learners with visual impairment on the implementation of blended learning to thwart the challenges of COVID-19 in institutions of higher education. This narrative case study employed a telephonic semi-structured interview guide to collect data on a visually impaired learner enrolled with the University of Eswatini (UNESWA). There were two research questions that the study sought answers for: what was the learning experience of a visually impaired learner regarding blended learning during COVID-19? And, how did a visually impaired learner cope academically during the emergency blended learning and teaching? The study found the following: a) incompatible devices; b) poor internet connection; c) challenges to log onto and manoeuvre Moodle and d) a need for a step-by-step guide to help the visually impaired learner to master the Moodle platform. Thus, the study recommends a) awareness creation on disability issues; b) installation of JAWS software in the computer labs; c) intensive Moodle training for visually impaired learners; d) a need for a resource centre that caters for different impairments, e) technologically savvy lecturers to troubleshoot and f) institutional opportunities for learners to procure affordable devices.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Prof K. Ferreira-Meyers, Dr S. Pitikoe
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.