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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2932

Title: Visual impairment in a visual medium perspectives of online learners with visual impairments
Authors: Candido, Jacqueline P.
Keywords: Education technology;Phenomenology;Vision disorders
Issue Date: 24-Dec-2008
Abstract: There is a lack of understanding about the experiences and perceptions of adults with visual impairments as they experience the visual medium of online learning. People with visual impairments experience the Internet differently from those with normal sight. As the Internet continues to grow as an educational approach, it is important to understand how this hidden population might use online learning to reach their educational goals. This phenomenological study explored the events and experiences that shaped the lives of three people with visual impairments in order to describe their perspectives of online learning. Phenomenological methodology was selected as the most effective way to illuminate the individual experiences of the participants. The research methods included in-depth interviews, observation over time, internet communication, and a reflection journal. The study was conducted over many months in order to follow the steps and voices of the participants. Their experiences, challenges and achievements have been portrayed from the perspective of the participants. The findings are reported using verbatim quotes from the participants, textural descriptions and a matrix depicting themes that emerged from the study. The implications from this study revealed that online learning is a viable option for people with visual impairments, but it can be constraining as well. Although the online strategy offers benefits such as convenience, flexibility and avoidance of transportation hassles, there can be obstacles such as compatibility with assistive technology. Recommendations for improvements are offered for online learners with visual impairments as well as for institutions and professors. Postsecondary schools and faculty offering online programs must be committed to serving the online learner and the new responsibilities this entails, such as increased use of email, phone and off-peak hours. Use of new technologies for enhanced communication and interaction could enable more students to succeed in online classes. Institutions must make it a priority to ensure that their online classes are accessible. Proposals are made for partnerships that could foster additional success for students with visual impairment in online courses. Ideas for future research as well as a personal closing from the researcher with insider knowledge conclude the study.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2932
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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