Expert on Web Environment:
An experimental Distance Learning Course
Andrea Micangeli1, Stefano Federici2
1CIRPS - University of Rome “La Sapienza”
2ECONA - University of Rome “La Sapienza”
Keyword: distance learning, web accessibility, communication technologies
New ICT Technologies offer a wide range of opportunities to people with disability, in both educational
and employment fields.
Following the concepts of mainstreaming and appropriate technology, at the University of Rome “La
Sapienza” a course implementing a synchronous Distance Learning model was offered to 100 disabled
and not-disabled graduated students, based on multimedia technologies capable ensuring a direct
interaction between student/teacher. As a face-to-face traditional lesson, although in remote classrooms,
an audio/visual live transmission of the teacher lesson was broadcasted and, at the same time, students’
questions and a description of the classroom atmosphere were sent by a classroom-tutor to the teacher in a
chat platform. The results yielded a good bi-directional interaction between teacher and students in spite
of the necessary compromises due to space, costs and disability constraints. The technology deployed
standard Telecom cables and Internet services within the DL model framework.
This Distance Learning Technology was analysed for a specific professional course inclusively designed,
namely, projected in order to address both to disabled and not-disabled students. 20% of the students were
disabled. All students were selected according to interests in web-related job activities. The lessons were
delivered from teachers in Rome, while the students were in remote classrooms placed in five cities of
region Lazio (Latina, Frosinone, Civitavecchia, Vierbo, and Rieti). The distance-interaction between the
participants was realized through the system of “computer conferencing”. Before starting the experiment,
some technical aids were chosen in order to complete a personalized accessibility with the students.
The connection data and the systems values were compared with the official registers and with data
collected by local tutors, and then the matrices of damages and frequencies were defined. These are two
graphic tools that allow the calculation of the magnitude and frequency of damages within the entire
system and its sub systems. By crossing the two matrices the heaviest damages resulted.
The evaluation of the system gave a result of 97,95% as global efficiency. Used parameters are:
Hglob: global hours of connection to classroom server: there were connections also during teacher
lessons for technical tests on machines and hours needed to transfer data for day lessons (photo,
Hint: hours of interruption
Î: the percentage of hours lost in comparison with the total hours
Istab: index of stability
Special thanks to engineer Pierluigi De Carolis, and CIRPS, ENEL, ILITEC and Hochfeiler.
ISFOL, (2002). I Laboratori della Formazione Continua. Milano: Franco Angeli.