Assessing Accessibility: Are Online Courses Better Than Face-to-Face Instruction At Providing Access to Course Content for Students with Disabilities?

Lindsey R. Massengale, Eleazar Vasquez


Delivering course material in a manner that is accessible to all students including those with disabilities is important in the online environment. This article presents an analysis focusing on the accessibility of six courses presented through the Webcourses platform. Six professors volunteered one course for analysis. The tool use for analyzing the courses was the WAVE tool bar. Analysis of course was completed individually, but results were reported across courses. Overall results indicated 13 types of challenges and of these 5 were the most prevalent across courses. The author discusses a brief history of distance education, the tool used for analysis, challenges that were identified within course and offers suggestion of how to minimize those challenges. Within the methodology, screen shots of the WAVE tool bar are provided. Visual analysis of the frequency of the 13 challenges is provided. Implications of the WAVE tool are shared with future research directions.


online learning, students with disabilities, accessibility, format challenges, format adaptations

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ISSN 1527-9316