Moodle Accessibility Techshare 2007


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Presentation on work to improve the accessibility of the Moodle e-learning software. Presented at the RNIB Techshare conference, October 2007. Co-presented with Dr. Chetz Colwell, also of the Open University.

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  • Nick starts
  • “ Open to people..” - 1 in 3 enter with qualifications lower than required by other universities. Disabilitie, next slide.
  • 2007, 1. Fatigue/ pain 22% … 6. Sight 5% (excluding other).
  • A Moodle course, at Log in status, course resources, online users (block) Components: theme header, side blocks etc.
  • “ Core” Moodle installation includes assignment, blog etc. 3 rd party contributed code – can be adopted by core Institute-specific components – theme, activities
  • PHP 5.2 (MySQL, PostgreSQL … MSSQL) OpenLearn uses Moodle, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation; Platinum IMS Global Learning Impact Award April 2007. Hand over to Chetz, after this - # 7.
  • Added ‘breadcrumb trail’, also mis-used characters (< > etc. as arrows)
  • OU Arts course page (server hidden), OU theme.
  • Zoom in Produced in Firefox browser – Web Developer toolbar extension. Outline of lists, headings …
  • 1.9, fixed form markup, didn’t extend coverage.
  • 1 million lines of code, 275 person years development. Paid and volunteer, differing background roles, coders and maintainers (lang) Every school, college… has own theme – opportunity to break things. Partly related symptom – but not a criticism.
  • Moodle Accessibility Techshare 2007

    1. 1. Moodle accessibility <ul><li>Making the Moodle e-learning software more accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Techshare 4-5 October 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Nick Freear </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Chetz Colwell </li></ul>
    2. 2. The Open University <ul><li>Campus in Milton Keynes, 50 miles from London. Founded 1960s. </li></ul><ul><li>Mission &quot;open to people, places, methods and ideas&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Only university in the UK dedicated to distance learning –&quot;supported open learning&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the largest universities in Europe – 150,000 undergraduate students, 30,000 postgraduates. </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 20 of our students declare disabilities. </li></ul>
    3. 3. OU disabled students <ul><li>Students may have more than one disability </li></ul><ul><li>1. Fatigue/pain 22% … 6. Sight 5% (exclude other) </li></ul><ul><li>Total 20154 </li></ul><ul><li>Figures for August 2007 </li></ul>793 Unseen disability 3239 Mobility/Physical 59 Autistic Spectrum 1876 Dyslexia 1039 Sight 4361 Fatigue/Pain 375 752 777 Speech Personal care Hearing 2065 Other 2123 Manual 2695 Mental Health
    4. 4. Moodle <ul><li>Course management system, virtual learning environment </li></ul><ul><li>Social constructivist pedagogy – learner as teacher, interaction, observation </li></ul><ul><li>Open source – GPL licence, free to modify, run. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>like Linux, Apache, Mozilla Firefox browser </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Founded: Martin Dougiamas, Perth Australia (school of the air, PhD project) – Moodle 1.0 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment” </li></ul>
    5. 5. course page
    6. 6. Moodle (2) <ul><li>Modular: course formats, activities, blocks, question types, filters, languages, themes, authentication …(20) </li></ul><ul><li>Default includes: assignment, blog, database, forum, glossary, quiz, resource, wiki … </li></ul><ul><li>25,000 registered sites, 176 countries (10 million users, 1 million courses), 75 languages, 3000 download/day. </li></ul><ul><li>Universities, colleges, schools, government, companies, independents. </li></ul><ul><li>Community, consulting, worldwide partners. </li></ul>
    7. 7. OU and Moodle <ul><li>Adopted Moodle October 2005; live with 1.6 Beta April 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently running OUVLE 1.5/ Moodle 1.8 (PostgreSQL). </li></ul><ul><li>A big installation: 395,000 users, 2900 courses! </li></ul><ul><li>We're involved: Roles & Permissions, Quiz, Accessibility, Groups, offline Moodle, e-Portfolio </li></ul><ul><li>Also, OpenLearn uses Moodle; Platinum IMS Global Learning Impact Award 2007. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Accessibility evaluation <ul><li>Ongoing expert evaluation since February 2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All available tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long list of issues – still being addressed in each major release of Moodle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student evaluation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rounds of testing with disabled and non-disabled students (Dec 06 – Aug 07) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observational sessions using ‘think aloud’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Realistic tasks in educational context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tools included Course web site, Forum, Wiki, Quiz, Profile </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Student evaluations
    10. 10. Problems & solutions <ul><li>Moodle 1.6, June 2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some ALT text, headings, layout tables, colour contrast, list markup, breadcrumb navigation trail </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1.8, March 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adoption of forms library to standardise forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adding form labels and markup (ongoing) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Removed deprecated tags, text editor keyboard shortcuts, not using colour/format alone, lists, Javascript, English help </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Open University course page
    12. 12. Progress: lists, headings …
    13. 13. Solutions (2) <ul><li>Moodle 1.9, due October 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixing form markup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding list markup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replacing mis-used markup in help files </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Course resource links, miscellaneous issues </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Issues outstanding <ul><li>Moodle 2.0, mid 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More removal of layout tables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More forms markup </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Headings, lists in some modules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text editor </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Challenges <ul><li>Retrofitting </li></ul><ul><li>Size/ complexity (1 million lines of code) </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility of user generated content </li></ul><ul><li>Raising awareness of issues & techniques </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rd party modules, themes, language packs </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Open University colleagues </li></ul><ul><li> including Martin Dougiamas, Jamie Pratt </li></ul><ul><li>Contributors on forums </li></ul>
    17. 17. Useful Links <ul><li>Open University: </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility in Educational Media team: </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle Accessibility Specification: </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle accessibility wiki: http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle development accessibility notes: </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle community: http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle consultancy: http:// </li></ul>
    18. 18. Contacts <ul><li>Dr Nick Freear , Technical Developer, Learning & Teaching Solutions, [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Chetz Colwell , Project Officer (AEM), Institute of Educational Technology, [email_address] </li></ul>