Web Accessibility Evaluation of Massive Open Online Courses on Geographical Information Systems
Tania Calle-Jiménez, Sandra Sanchez-Gordon, Sergio Luján-Mora
Conference Program and Book of Abstracts of IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON 2014), p. 92, Istanbul (Turkey), April 3-5 2014.
(EDUCON'14a) Congreso internacional / International conference
This paper describes some of the challenges that exist to make accessible online courses in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). GIS are computer applications that acquire, manipulate, manage, model and visualize geo-referenced data for solving social, environmental, climatological, hydrological, planning, management and economic issues to support decision-making. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are open and free of charge, meaning that anyone with internet access and willing to learn can use it. Geo-MOOCs is the generic name given to MOOCs on Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Currently, there are not many Geo-MOOCs, perhaps due to the difficulty of its development. An example of a Geo-MOOC is the course "Maps and the Geospatial Revolution", developed by Penn State University. The course opened in July 2013 with 30,000 students. This proves a great interest in Geo-MOOCs. This is the online course used as study case in this research. Accessibility evaluation tools help developers make their web applications more accessible. The accessibility evaluation tools are a useful resource to identify accessibility problems but they cannot report all the issues nor solve them. Developers have to solve them. Developers can make changes to improve accessibility based on the evaluation results. The purpose of this research is to present the results of a web accessibility evaluation of a Geo-MOOC. The evaluation used three tools available for free on the Internet: Chrome Accessibility Developer Tools Audit Check, eXaminator and WAVE. Web accessibility analysis was performed based on a selection of web content and geographical data. We elaborated tables to summarize the results and analyzed them. This provided feedback for establishing recommendations to improve the accessibility of this online course. Other Geo-MOOCs can also benefit from these recommendations.