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Teaching Accessibility to the Masses: Part2

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  • Toronto Metropolitan University

Abstract and Figures

Digital accessibility is a relatively new topic area within post-secondary technical programs. Most institutions still do not teach developers about aspects of inclusion, despite the subject of digital accessibility being around for more than 20 years. Understanding the pedagogical culture associated with teaching accessibility can help justify the topic as a legitimate area of study within these programs. Expanding on our initial research that examined retention rates when teaching digital accessibility through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), we introduced a new audience (managers) in this work to determine whether retention rates were audience dependent. We found managers were more likely to exit a course before completion than developers were. We also looked at satisfaction with forum activities, which were typically judged least useful of various course tools. By introducing increased interaction between participants, and between participants and instructors, we wanted to understand whether this would help increase participants' judged usefulness of forums, and whether these changes would increase overall course retention. Results here, and from others, suggest the level of forum interaction affects MOOC retention. CCS Concepts • Human-centered computing~Accessibility theory, concepts and paradigms • Human-centered computing~Accessibility design and evaluation methods • Human-centered computing~Accessibility systems and tools • Social and professional topics~Computer and information systems training • Social and professional topics~Universal access
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Teaching Accessibility to the Masses: Part2
Greg Gay
Ryerson University
greg.gay@ryerson.ca
Marcel Labrie
Ryerson University
mlabrie@ryerson.ca
Anastasia Dimitriadou
Ryerson University
adimitriadou@ryerson.ca
ABSTRACT
Digital accessibility is a relatively new topic area within post-
secondary technical programs. Most institutions still do not teach
developers about aspects of inclusion, despite the subject of
digital accessibility being around for more than 20 years.
Understanding the pedagogical culture associated with teaching
accessibility can help justify the topic as a legitimate area of study
within these programs. Expanding on our initial research that
examined retention rates when teaching digital accessibility
through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), we introduced a
new audience (managers) in this work to determine whether
retention rates were audience dependent. We found managers
were more likely to exit a course before completion than
developers were. We also looked at satisfaction with forum
activities, which were typically judged least useful of various
course tools. By introducing increased interaction between
participants, and between participants and instructors, we wanted
to understand whether this would help increase participants’
judged usefulness of forums, and whether these changes would
increase overall course retention. Results here, and from others,
suggest the level of forum interaction affects MOOC retention.
CCS Concepts
Human-centered computing~Accessibility theory, concepts
and paradigms Human-centered computing~Accessibility
design and evaluation methods Human-centered
computing~Accessibility systems and tools Social and
professional topics~Computer and information systems
training Social and professional topics~Universal access
Keywords
Accessibility training; MOOC; web development; web
accessibility; retention; pedagogical culture, forum satisfaction,
computer science; curriculum.
1. INTRODUCTION
In 2016, we introduced the Professional Web Accessibility
Auditing Made Easy” Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
(which we’ll refer to as the Developer MOOC), and discussed our
ongoing work around pedagogical culture surrounding the
teaching of accessibility [1], a topic initially introduced by
Lewthwaite and Sloan [4]. Our research showed that with
effective engagement using a range of interactive activities, we
could increase retention rates from the typical 10% range for a
MOOC to as much as 36% when participants’ intentions are taken
into consideration. This rate of course completion was
considerably higher than the 22% retention rate reported in the
HarvardX studies [2][3], which looked at retention based on
MOOC participants’ intentions.
The audience in our previous work was web developers. One of
our goals in the current work has been to compare the results from
our original work with web developers with an audience of
business leaders and managers, to determine whether the audience
of a MOOC had an effect on course completion rates.
To this end, we created a new MOOC titled Digital Accessibility
as a Business Practice”, that aimed to instruct “managers” on
strategies for integrating digital accessibility into the culture of an
organization. We will refer to this course as the Manager MOOC.
Using the same strategies we used to develop and deliver the
Developer MOOC, the aimed was to duplicate retention
comparable to that of the Developer MOOC, with an audience of
senior business people, and managers.
The second focus was on improving satisfaction with the course
discussion forums, which were key pedagogical tools employed in
our courses, used for community knowledge building. In the
Developer MOOC, of all the features of the course, discussion
forums were rated the “least helpfulin supporting participants’
learning. This pattern was consistent in all four previous cohorts
of the Developer MOOC. We wanted to determine whether
changing the audience (from developers to managers), and
promoting participant interaction and instructor participation in
the forums (from no participation to active participation), would
improve the overall perceived helpfulness of the forums, and
whether that would improve retention overall as others have
suggested [5].
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2. THE MANAGER MOOC DESIGN AND
DELIVERY
Within an organization, whether it is a for profit business, a not-
for-profit SME, or perhaps an institution of higher education,
there are common elements across each that help define its
culture. These include opportunities to learn, organizational
attention to quality, diligence when assessing new products and
services being procured, and diversity in employment practices.
These topics, as they relate to digital accessibility, guided the
curriculum development of the Manager MOOC.
2.1 Curriculum
The Manager MOOC is a three-week intensive course, in which
enrollees were expected to participate 3 to 5 hours per week
reading, completing activities and assessments, and contributing
to the course discussions. In comparison, the Developer MOOC is
four weeks, with 5 to 8 hours per week participating. The
following is a high-level outline of the main topics covered in the
Manager MOOC. Additional details follow in the sections below.
Module 1:
Unit 1: Orientation and Getting Started
Unit 2: Understanding the Big Picture
Module 2:
Unit 3: The Committee and the Champion
Unit 4: Creating Digital Accessibility Culture
Module 3:
Unit 5: Procurement and Accessibility Policy
Unit 6: Introduction to Hiring Accessibility Staff
2.2 Engagement
Replicating the engagement strategies from the Developer MOOC
[1] was a focus in the Manager MOOC. These included:
Introductions: We employed the same “The World Outside your
Windows” icebreaker activity at the start of the course that we
used in the Developer MOOC, in which participants were asked to
describe what they see outside their nearest window, getting at
where they were located. They also described what they see
through their virtual window (their computer screen), getting at
what they do, and how digital accessibility fits into their work.
The goal was to set an informal tone for the course, and ease
participants into using the discussion forums with a fun activity.
Accessibility Toolkit: Much like the toolkit participants created
in the Developer MOOC, participants in the Manager MOOC
assembled a variety of tools and resources as they progressed
through the course that would help them with their efforts to
introduce digital accessibility into the culture of an (their)
organization. These included some of the tools from the
Developer MOOC, such as automated accessibility checkers and
references to accessibility specifications and legislation. These
tools also included additional training resources, a collection of
accessibility-related hiring and procurement questions, and
templates for developing an accessibility statement, among others.
The Sharp Clothing Company Storyline: Much like the Lulu’s
Lollipops storyline that weaved through the Developer MOOC,
the story of the Sharp Clothing Company added a sense of realism
to the curriculum of the Manager MOOC. Participants were
placed in the role of a project manager, who has been directed by
the company CEO to address a recent accessibility complaint, and
to ensure the company is not faced with complaints in the future.
The goal was to provide an experience that might mirror a real-
life scenario, and aid the application of inclusion in real-life
organizations.
Activity Forums: As was the case for the Developer MOOC,
discussion forums were associated with each of the course
activities. Typically, participants were presented with an activity
problem, to which they had to post a solution or post their
reflections to the forum. Participants had to post their answers
before they could view what others had posted. The aim was to
have forums act as an element of community knowledge building,
with participants learning from each others’ perspectives on each
activity.
Module Quizzes: In addition to a series of short unmarked self-
tests scattered throughout the course that were used to reinforce
topics as they were being introduced, at the end of each module
participants completed a marked quiz. Each quiz accounted for
20% of a participant’s mark for the course, and could be
attempted up to three times.
2.3 Unit Activities
In addition to the primary means of engagement introduced above,
each of the units in the course had an associated activity, based on
the topics being discussed, that provided additional opportunities
to engage. To earn the digital badge for successfully finishing the
course, participants had to complete all activities, making a
“significant” contribution to the community’s collective
knowledge through the associated activity forums. Each activity
contributed up to three or four points to a participant’s overall
mark for the course, and were marked manually by the instructors.
These activities included:
Orientation: Similar to the WCAG techniques scavenger hunt in
the Developer MOOC, in which participants had to search for
solutions to accessibility barriers in the W3C documentation,
participants in the Manager MOOC had to search out features of
the course’s learning management system (LMS) to familiarize
themselves with the learning environment. They reported their
findings to the associated activity forum. The goal was to create
functional users of the LMS, so when learning the subject matter
of the course, the novelty of the learning environment interfered
less with learning.
One-Minute Elevator Pitch: After learning about business and
financial arguments for digital accessibility, and learning about
different types of disabilities and their associated barriers,
participants had to develop a convincing 60-second “pitch” to a
senior person in the company, to get that person onside with
changing the organization's culture to include digital accessibility.
Participants critiqued each other's submissions from the point of
view of that senior person, outlining whether they were convinced
or not, and offering suggestions on what might have been added
to, or adjusted, to make the pitch more convincing.
Responding to Resistance: After learning about change
management theories and their application in the context of
introducing accessibility into the culture of an organization,
participants had to come up with short counterarguments for
“excuses” people might come up with for not wanting to change
(e.g. it will cost too much, we don’t have the time, we have very
few customers with disabilities). Presented with a series of
excuses, they had to pick three for which to develop
counterarguments, and post those to the associated activity forum
for feedback and critique from classmates.
Critique Accessibility Claims: Similar to the critical-evaluation
activity in the Developer MOOC, in which participants compared
results from two automated accessibility checkers, after learning
about procurement and how accessibility needs to be an integral
part of the purchasing process, participants critically evaluate the
accessibility claims of two IT system vendors. They are asked to
judge which is a more believable claim, and explain why they
think this in the associated activity forum. The goal of this activity
is to have participants always question claims made by vendors,
which often “bend” the truth, or mislead the reader.
Find an IT Accessibility Professional Job Description: After
learning about hiring and employment practices, and how
accessibility fits into human-resource processes, participants
search out jobs for accessibility professionals, with the goal of
understanding what organizations should be looking for in such a
hire. Participants also sought job descriptions for other roles and
the accessibility knowledge that others who work with digital
content should understand.
Create the Sharp Clothing Company’s Digital Accessibility
Policy: The primary activity in the Manager MOOC was creating
a policy for the fictional company being followed throughout the
course. Participants are provided with a template for the policy
they will construct, and gather information to build the policy
document as they progress through the course. Completed policies
are posted to the associated activity forum for review and
constructive feedback from classmates. This activity was worth
15% of a participant’s overall mark for the course.
3. GOALS AND OUTCOMES
A number of questions arose from our work with the first four
cohorts of the Developer MOOC that drove the research with the
Manager MOOC.
1. Using the same methods we used for the Developer
MOOC, would we be able to maintain the high retention
rates for an audience of managers?
2. Would the satisfaction with discussion forums change
with a different audience?
3. By encouraging feedback in the forums, and having
instructors play a more active role, would the
satisfaction with forums be increased in both Developer
and Manager MOOCs?
4. With that added interaction in the forums, would overall
retention in a course be improved?
3.1 Retention
3.1.1 Retention based on Participant Intentions
To address question 1, in a pre-course survey, we asked
participants in the Manager MOOC what their intentions were
when they registered for the course. The same question had been
asked in the Developer MOOC, which was adapted from the
HarvardX research [2][3].
What was your intention when you registered for this course?
To receive the digital badge
To audit the course (I’m not interested in receiving
the digital badge)
I’m not sure yet (I may or may not complete the
badge requirements)
I just wanted to browse through the course
Comparing retention rates between Developer and Manager
MOOCs in Table 1, based on intention, the pattern does suggest
retention in the Developer MOOC was higher than it was for the
Manager MOOC for those who intended to complete the course
for the digital badge. Results showed that 42.6% of developers
and 28.2% of managers completed their respective courses.
Though retention in the Manager MOOC was lower than in the
Developer MOOC, it was still considerably higher than the 22%
rate found in the HarvardX studies [2][3].
Speculating on why retention was lower in the Manager MOOC,
it may be a result of the audience, managers perhaps having less
time available, or being less technical and finding online courses
more difficult than developers. It may be because developers
found the activities more engaging, or, it could be the two courses
differed in their ability to engage and motivate participants. More
research will be needed to determine which factors account for the
difference in retention rates between the two courses. Additional
questions could be included in the course surveys to ask
participants about their technical background, and whether they
have taken a MOOC or online course before. A follow-up survey
might also be conducted with all registrants to determine what
factors caused them to exit or complete the course.
Table 1: Comparative results of course completion based on
intention from the Developer and Manager MOOCS
Description
Managers (C1)
Developers (C5)
Participants
intending to
complete the badge
(who completed the
intro survey)
60 (36% of 166)
115 (44.7% of 257
who started the
course)
Participants who
intended to complete
the badge, who did
so
17 (28.2% of 60)
49 (42.6% of 115)
Participants who
were unsure, who
completed the badge
3 (5.1% of 59)
17 (20.9% of 81)
Participants who
were auditing the
course, who
completed the badge
1 (7.6% of 13)
2 (8.7% of 23)
Participants who did
not state their
intention, who
completed the badge.
0
1
Participants who
were just browsing
who completed the
badge
5 (29% of 17)
4 (23.5% of 17)
Participant who did
not complete the
precourse survey,
who completed the
badge
0
1
Total who completed
the badge
29*
74
* Three who completed the badge did not specify their intention.
3.1.2 Retention based on Quiz Completion
As with the Developer MOOC, we looked at the point where
participants exited the Manager MOOC based on the number of
quizzes completed. In all cohorts, the largest number exiting
occurs after the first week, after which the exit rate levels off
somewhat. Our measure of interest then, is the difference between
the numbers who complete the first and second quizzes.
Table 2: Comparative results of retention based on quiz
completed.
Quiz
Managers (C1)
Quiz 1
67
Quiz 2
52 (-22.3%)
Quiz 3
45 (-10.4%)
Quiz 4
NA
When retention was measured by the number exiting after each
quiz, as seen in Table 2 fewer developers exited (19.7.8%) after
the first quiz, than managers (22.3%), though the difference was
small.
3.1.3 Retention based on Activity Completion
As with the Developer MOOC, we also looked at the point where
participants exited the Manager MOOC based on the number of
activities completed.
Table 3: Comparative results of retention based on activity
completion
Activity
Managers (C1)
Developers (C5)
Activity 1
70
112
Activity 2
46 (-34%)
94 (-16%)
Activity 3
35 (-15.7%)
84 (-8.9%)
Activity 4
33 (-2.8%)
79 (-4.5%)
Activity 5
34 (+1.5%)
80 (+1%)
Activity 6
31 (-4.2%)
78 (-2%)
Activity 7
NA
81 (+2.6%)
When retention was measured based on the number exiting after
each activity, again fewer developers (16%) exited the course
after the first activity than managers (34%).
With quizzes and activities taken together, it seems developers are
more likely to continue beyond the first week than managers.
However, additional research is needed to determine which
factors contributed to the variation in exit rates between the two
groups.
3.2 Discussion Forum Satisfaction
Our second interest was improving overall satisfaction with the
forums, or more specifically whether participants judged them as
helpful for their learning.
In the Developer MOOC we asked two post course survey
questions related to satisfaction with the discussion forums (the
second question introduced in cohort 2). In the first question
participants were asked to select from a list of nine course
features. Based on the statement “I found the following elements
in this course to be most helpful” they chose from the list all the
features they found helpful. They could choose as many or as few
as they liked. For every cohort, except Cohort 5, the forums were
chosen by the fewest number of participants as being helpful
(24%, 24%, 30%, 20%). In cohort 5 the forums were the second
least helpful (31%), though only slightly more helpful than
instructor announcements (29%).
The second question asked participants to rate the usefulness of
the forums on a five point Likert scale, from useful to not useful.
The percentage of those who found the forums useful or
somewhat useful was still the lowest compared to the judged
usefulness of other features across cohorts 2 to 4 (na, 40%, 59%,
52%).
Two changes were made to the activity forums for Cohort 1 of the
Manager MOOC and Cohort 5 for the Developer MOOC in an
attempt to increase satisfaction of the forums: 1) encouraging
participants to provide constructive feedback on others’ posts, and
2) instructors actively participating in the forums. Unlike the first
four cohorts of the Developer MOOC, where the instructors
played a passive role, responding only to Help Forum requests, for
these two cohorts instructors played a more active role,
responding to participants’ posts where opportunities arose to
expand on a learning moment. Participants in these two cohorts
were also encouraged to provide constructive feedback on one or
two other posts in each forum, to increase interaction between
participants. For Cohort 5 of the Developer MOOC, participants
judge the forums to be only slightly more useful (60%) than with
previous cohorts. For the Manager MOOC, 64% selected useful or
somewhat useful, again slightly more useful than in previous
cohorts of the Developer MOOC. With both MOOCs, forums
continued to be judge the least useful of all the tools participants
were asked to rate despite the added engagement and instructor
participation.
3.2.1 Forum Usefulness Based on Learning Type
In addition to asking participants in both MOOCs about their
satisfaction with the forums, we also asked them in the pre-course
survey about the type of learner they were: either 1) active,
planning to participate in discussion forums, or 2) passive, reading
others’ posts but not contributing, or 3) non-participant, not
reading or contributing. A fourth “don’t know” category was also
added for those who were not sure, at the start of the course, what
their level of participation would be. The hypothesis was that
active participants would find the forums more useful than others.
Though the numbers were too small for effects to be significant,
the patterns were what we might have expected based on our
hypothesis, with active participants finding forums more useful
(top left quadrant). The pattern of usefulness of the forums shown
Table 4: Manager MOOC Forum Satisfaction
Useful
Neutral
Somewhat not Useful
Not Useful
Total
Active
6
2
3
1
17 (64.7%)*
Don’t Know
2
1
0
1
7 (71.4%)
Passive
1
1
3
1
7 (28.5%)
Non-participant
0
0
0
0
0 (0)
9
4
6
3
31 (58%)
*percentage of the total that found forums useful or somewhat useful
Table 5: Developer MOOC Forum Satisfaction (Cohort 4)
Useful
Somewhat Useful
Neutral
Somewhat not Useful
Not Useful
Total
Active
1
5
1
0
1
8 (75%)
Don’t Know
4
4
2
3
0
13 (61.5%)
Passive
2
4
8
0
2
16 (37%)
Non-participant
0
0
0
0
1
1 (0)
7
13
11
3
4
38 (52%)
Table 6: Developer MOOC Forum Satisfaction (Cohort 5)
Useful
Somewhat Useful
Neutral
Somewhat not Useful
Not Useful
Total
Active (-2)
7
11
6
0
0
24 (75%)
Don’t Know (-1)
5
7
2
3
1
18 (66.5%)
Passive (-1)
1
3
3
1
1
9 (44.4%)
Non-participant (-1)
0
1
0
0
0
1 (100%)
13
22
11
4
2
52 (67.3%)
in Table 4 for the Manager MOOC (64.7% active, 71.4% don’t
know, 28.5% passive), with the forum changes, did not appear to
differ much from Cohort 4 (Table 5) of the Developer MOOC
(75%, 61.5%, 37%) without the forum changes. Nor did the
pattern appear much different from Cohort 5 (Table 6), with the
forum changes (75%, 66%, 44%). Though there does appear to be
an overall increase in usefulness for Cohort 5 of the Developer
MOOC (67.3%), over Cohort 4 (52%), no statistical significance
was identified.
Though the pattern for the forums with and without the changes
leans toward what we were expecting, with active participants
seemingly finding the forums more useful, and the forums being
judged more useful overall with encouragement and active
instructors (67.3%), than without (52%), the numbers were too
small for the effects to be significant.
4. DISCUSSION
This work extends our effort to understand the pedagogical
culture surrounding the teaching of digital accessibility. Our first
focus here was on adding to our understanding of MOOC
retention, and what leads to MOOC participants persevering and
completing a MOOC when learning about accessibility. Here we
looked specifically at the audience, and whether retention would
differ when the audience was taken into consideration. When
comparing retention for developers and managers, our results
suggest developers are more likely to complete a MOOC than
managers.
This effect may be due to differences in the technical background
of each audience. Those who are more technical, we might
speculate, will find the technical nature of taking a course online
more familiar than those who are less technical. For a follow-up, a
question or two could be added to the course surveys asking about
participants technical knowledge, to better understand what effects
technical knowledge has on participants’ tendency to complete a
MOOC.
Our second focus here has been on understanding MOOC
participants’ tendency to find discussion forums least useful as a
pedagogical tool, among other tools in a course (such as the
content, activities, web resources, graphics, video, self-tests,
quizzes, and instructor announcements). Given that forums are a
central feature of our MOOCs, and most other MOOCs, it was a
little concerning that participants found them least useful of the
course tools. Though again we looked at learner-type effects
(active, passive, and non-participant) on judged usefulness of the
forums, and patterns do seem to suggest active learners find
forums more useful, effects were not significant.
It has been suggested that when instructors are active in
discussions, MOOC retention increases [5]. While comparing
participants’ perception of forum usefulness based on the type of
learner did not produce significant results, there did appear to be
an increase in perceived usefulness overall between Cohort 4
(52%) without added forum interaction and Cohort 5 (67.3%) with
added forum interaction. There was also a slight increase in
retention for those who intended to complete the badge
requirements from Cohort 4 (38%) without added forum
interaction, to Cohort 5 (42.6%) with added forum interaction. For
our next round of MOOCs, we will ask these questions once
again, and will expect to see higher overall usefulness maintained
for subsequent cohorts along with a higher retention rate if the
addition of forum interaction is proving to be effective.
Another interesting pattern that has emerged across all cohorts is
the number of participants who were only planning to browse or
audit the courses, or were unsure, and had not planned to
complete the badge requirements, who then went on to finish a
course. In every cohort, between about 10% to 25% of those who
had not intended to complete the course went on to do so (i.e.
unintended completion). This may be a good measure of a
MOOC’s captivation, or its ability to engage participants and
motivate them to persevere. Across the five cohorts of the
Developer MOOC a sizable number of those who had not
intended to, went on to complete the course (NA, 15.5%, 16%,
23.6%, 17.6%). For the Manager MOOC this number was only
10%. Considerably fewer participants in the Manager MOOC who
had not intended to, went on to complete the badge requirements.
As an instructor and course designer, this author would judge the
Developer MOOC to be more engaging and captivating, with
more interesting activities and more opportunities to practice
newly learned skills. We will measure unintended completion
once again in the next round of courses, to determine whether for
the Manager MOOC, that lower unintended completion rate is
consistent. For future work, additional engaging activities could
be added to the Manager MOOC to determine whether that
corresponds with increased numbers of unintended completions.
To follow in the next phase of this research, we have a number of
new questions to investigate:
1. Does technical background have an effect on
participants’ likelihood to complete a MOOC?
2. With added interaction in the forums, can an overall
increase in retention be consistently maintained?
3. For those who had not intended to complete a MOOC at
the outset, are numbers consistent in a given course, for
those who go on to complete the course?
4. If engagement is increased, do the number of
unintended completions also increase?
5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Our thanks to The Government of Ontarios Enabling Change
Program for their support of this project.
6. REFERENCES
[1] Gay. G, Djafarova, N., & Zefi, L (2017), Teaching
Accessibility to the Masses. Published in the Proceedings of
the 14th Web for All Conference.
doi>10.1145/3058555.3058563
[2] Reich, J. (2014). MOOC Completion and Retention in the
Context of Student Intent. Retrieved September 1, 2016 from
http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/12/mooc-completion-
and-retention-in-the-context-of-student-intent
[3] Reich, J. & Ho, A. (2014). The Tricky Task of Figuring Out
What Makes a MOOC Successful, Retreived September 1,
2016 from
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/the-
tricky-task-of-figuring-out-what-makes-a-mooc-
successful/283274/
[4] Lewthwaite, S. & Sloan, D. (2016). Exploring pedagogical
culture for accessibility in Computing Science, Retrieved
from http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2899475.2899490
[5] Hone, Kate S. & El Said, Ghada R. (2016) Exploring the
factors affecting MOOC retention: A survey
study. Computers and Education. Elsevier. Retrieved from
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.03.016
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TBA Digital accessibility is a relatively new topic area within post-secondary technical programs. Most institutions still do not teach developers about aspects of inclusion, despite the subject of digital accessibility being around for more than 20 years. Understanding the pedagogical culture associated with teaching accessibility can help justify the topic as a legitimate area of study within these programs. Expanding on our initial research that examined retention rates when teaching digital accessibility through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), we introduced a new audience (managers) in this work to determine whether retention rates were audience dependent. We found managers were more likely to exit a course before completion than developers were. We also looked at satisfaction with forum activities, which were typically judged least useful of various course tools. By introducing increased interaction between participants, and between participants and instructors, we wanted to understand whether this would help increase participants’ judged usefulness of forums, and whether these changes would increase overall course retention. Results here, and from others, suggest the level of forum interaction affects MOOC retention.
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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) hold the potential to open up educational opportunities to a global audience. However, evidence suggests that only a small proportion of MOOC participants go on to complete their courses and relatively little is understood about the MOOC design and implementation factors that influence retention. This paper reports a survey study of 379 participants enrolled at university in Cairo who were encouraged to take a MOOC of their own choice as part of their development. 122 participants (32.2%) went onto to complete an entire course. There were no significant differences in completion rates by gender, level of study (undergraduate or postgraduate) or MOOC platform. A post-MOOC survey of students' perceptions found that MOOC Course Content was a significant predictor of MOOC retention, with the relationship mediated by the effect of content on the Perceived Effectiveness of the course. Interaction with the instructor of the MOOC was also found to be significant predictor of MOOC retention. Overall these constructs explained 79% of the variance in MOOC retention.
Conference Paper
This paper identifies some of the challenges of teaching and learning accessibility through the lens of pedagogy (which deals with the theory and practice of education). We argue that accessibility education in computing science presents a set of unique and challenging characteristics for those engaged in accessibility capacity building. Significant moves are being made to embed accessibility within academic curricula and professional domains. However, through a qualitative thematic review of the accessibility pedagogic literature, we find that the field lacks the pedagogic culture necessary to support widespread excellence in teaching and learning. Nonetheless, our review identifies aspects of this small but important literature that indicate how a pedagogic culture for accessibility can be stimulated through research, debate and discussion, to promote a more pedagogically-grounded approach to the field as a whole.
MOOC Completion and Retention in the Context of Student Intent
  • J Reich
Reich, J. (2014). MOOC Completion and Retention in the Context of Student Intent. Retrieved September 1, 2016 from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2014/12/mooc-completionand-retention-in-the-context-of-student-intent
The Tricky Task of Figuring Out What Makes a MOOC Successful
  • J Reich
  • A Ho
Reich, J. & Ho, A. (2014). The Tricky Task of Figuring Out What Makes a MOOC Successful, Retreived September 1, 2016 from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/thetricky-task-of-figuring-out-what-makes-a-moocsuccessful/283274/