Distance learning and the visually impaired learner
DISTANCE LEARNING AND THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED LEARNER Ms. Lerato Sonia Tladi Layout of the Presentation Background Research Focus Methodology Results Discussion and Conclusion Background DL and Widened Access to Academic Learning Access and Success Challenges: Relatively low throughput and success rates as opposed to contact institutions Transactional distance Student-Institution Fit
Some of the efforts to address challenges: Tutorial services Online and Face-to-Face Discussion Forums Visually Impaired Students excluded from participation Special software required for myUnisa Tutors not equipped to deal with the visually impaired Research Focus Explore the learning experiences of visually impaired students to Better understand the challenges they face and Their support requirements, in order to Help ensure their throughput and success Research Methodology
Ethical approval obtained by BMR Data Collection Survey Population 350 formally registered Phase 1: 8 in-depth interviews conducted by students with visual the BMR to inform survey instrument disabilities as at October 6th, development 2016. Phase 2: Telephonic survey of 134 visually impaired students, however Data Analysis Only 98 cases analyzed 14 cases: no visual impairment 10 cases: Inability to match to student database
12 cases: used normal print to read study material Of these, 81 were recorded as being blind, 164 as having reading difficulties and 105 as no audio SM. Profile of Respondents Gender Female Male Total 6
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% Survey Results Why Study with Unisa
Other reasons for choosing Unisa Affordable (42,9%) Am working (14,3%) Met minimum entry requirements at Unisa (7,1%) Not accepted elsewhere and allowed to do bridging course at Unisa (7,1%) Proximity to home (7,1%) Flexibility with time and reasonable fees (7,1%) Advanced and affordable (7,1%) Application Method Rating of Application Method Reasons for Difficulties: Online Applications Reasons for Difficulties:
On-campus Applications Registration Method Rating of Registration Method Reasons for difficulties Online  My registration status took too long to be confirmed : 4 Friend who assisted them to register having poor knowledge of computers. 1 On-Campus  My impairment made the process long: 1 My registration status took too long to be confirmed: 1
I had financial constraints: 1 Struggled to see clearly: 1 Self-Help  Assistance provided was inaccurate thus leading to their choosing the wrong modules Declaration of Visual Impairment Application Stage: Declaration Registration Stage : Special Needs Form Study Material Delivery Delivery on Time
Partially Sighted/Low Yes No Total Blind Vision Total 4 57
61 28,6% 67,9% 62,2% 10 27 37 71,4% 32,1% 37,8%
14 84 98 100,0% 100,0% 100,0% Reasons for delays Other reasons for delays Large print delays, they usually send normal print first and large print study material later It takes too long to produce material for braille
I hardly write exams because I always receive my study material late Do not know because of having no one to explain the delay Dispatch is delaying Courier takes time to find address Delay from Unisas side Out of stock Study Material in Preferred Format? Preferred Format for Study Material Blind Braille Audio sighted/low vision Total
6 1 7 54,5% 1,2% 7,5% 5 7 12
45,5% 8,5% 12,9% 74 74 90,2% 79,6% 11 82 93
100,0% 100,0% 100,0% Large text/ print Total Partially Reasons why not in preferred format
It was in CD format and I prefer electronic I declared but didnt receive the right format Did not get any explanation I didnt know that study material could be printed in a different format Large print gets delayed and delivered late I was given textbooks and I prefer a CD When I asked I was told that Despatch made a mistake but Despatch tells a different story I receive material in normal print every time not in large print Used Available Study Support? Why Support not Used Types of Support Used 
Student Experiences: Assignments and Examinations Ratings of Assignments Process Reasons for Ratings: Assign Blind Had to ask friends and family for assistance Struggled to get proper information. Blind and Partially Sighted Struggled to obtain the assignment form in their preferred format. Partially Sighted/Low Vision The assignment form is not user friendly Its hard to complete assignments when study material is not in the right format I have a writing problem I have difficulties using computers and with online courses It time consuming because of my low vision The two (2) blind students who had stated other blamed it on having to
Ratings of Examinations Process Reasons for Ratings: Exams Blind The time allocated was insufficient due to impairment, Got no assistance when they got to the examination venue Use JAWS at home and getting to examinations and finding that Unisa uses NVDA yet staff are unable to assist. Partially sighted/Low vision Allocated time was insufficient Exam material not available in preferred format. Struggled to get to the examination venue
No assistance on hand upon arrival at the examination venue. Question paper being too large, Not being allowed to use a USB, Large print only getting printed on the day when already at the exam venue Have a writing problem. Overall Experience of Studying with Unisa Agree I am proud of being a student at Unisa I would recommend Unisa to other visually impaired people
Blind Partially Sighted/ Low Vision Blind Partially Sighted/ Low Vision Blind I feel a sense of belonging at Unisa Partially Sighted/ Low Vision As a visually impaired student, I do not feel excluded at Unisa I feel there is sufficient support for visually impaired students at Unisa
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