Update on our online learning at uni survey

by Cass, Vision Australia, almost 2 years ago

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our survey earlier this year on their experience with online learning at uni.

Prior to this survey, we had heard that accessing online learning at uni had not been smooth sailing for many Australian students who are blind or have low vision. With it now being virtually impossible to find a university that does not incorporate online components into its course content delivery or assessment, we understood that this was a significant barrier for students with a print disability to get their education.

But, we were missing information on the exact nature and extent of these accessibility barriers that we could use as evidence with the sector. This is why we decided to conduct the research project you participated in, to gain a more detailed understanding of the online learning experiences of current and recent university students who are blind or have low vision.

What we heard

Over 35 current and recent university students who are blind or have low vision submitted their story about their experience using online learning.

The survey responses clearly showed that there are significant accessibility and usability issues with the online learning platforms that are used by Australian universities. In some cases, these issues have prevented people from studying altogether, while in others they made studying extremely difficult, unenjoyable and stressful.

The information that was shared with us demonstrates that the university sector needs to take strong and urgent action to address the barriers that online learning has created for students who are blind or have low vision.

What we are doing

For the first time, we now have compelling evidence that we can use in our advocacy to government and the university sector.

We will be seeking substantive discussions with key stakeholders in early 2018 to develop strategies for bringing about positive change. We will also be launching a report that your feedback has helped shape, and continue our ongoing advocacy efforts to secure accessible online learning environments for all.

Thanks again

Thank you again to everyone who got involved in the early stages of our work in this area.

If you are interested in getting one-on-one support to help you advocate for accessible online learning at your uni, contact our Advocacy team on advocacy@visionaustralia.org or call us on 1300 84 74 66. You can also check out our handy ‘Stand up for your Rights Guides’ now available on our website here for hints and tips.

Bruce, Scott and the team at Vision Australia

Consultation has concluded