In our research project, we are employing a mixed methods-research programme to understand the complexity of the issues related to disability and MOOCs (Gasevic et al., 2014). The qualitative studies through interviews are informing us about the user expectations and the educators’ viewpoints on how MOOCs can be helpful to learners with disabilities; quantitative studies through analysing MOOC survey data are proving to be useful to understand the demographics of learners and how the educational resources could be improved and adapted to their needs. We are designing a MOOC accessibility audit to evaluate MOOCs for accessibility and to arrive at solutions and adaptations that can meet user needs. This accessibility audit includes expert-based heuristic evaluation and user-based testing of the MOOC platforms and individual courses.
We have so far conducted twenty two interviews with accessibility content managers of MOOC platform providers, platform software developers/designers, educators and those with a range of expertise in the MOOC community. An inductive approach for coding the interviews using thematic analysis has been followed. The next steps of our research programme are to analyse online surveys and online learning activity from courses in the MOOC platform, FutureLearn, interviews with MOOC learners, and conducting the first iteration of the accessibility audit. This research will benefit the MOOC providers who would be able to use the project’s outputs and disabled learners to improve their lifelong learning and re-skilling.
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Gasevic, D., Kovanovic, V., Joksimovic, S. and Siemens, G., (2014). Where is research on massive open online courses headed? A data analysis of the MOOC Research Initiative. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(5).
Kop, R. and Bouchard, P., (2011). The role of adult educators in the age of social media. In Digital education (pp. 61-80). Palgrave Macmillan US.
US Departnent of Justice. (2015). Justice Department Reaches Settlement with edX Inc. Available at: http://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/united-states-reaches-settlement-provider-massive-open-online-courses-make-its-content [Accessed Nov 2016]