In 2019, French universities and colleges still have a long way to go in terms of accessibility of courses in face-to-face and distance. In fact, foreign students, students with disabilities – motor or not – have often only access to certain digital courses and / or have to manage by themselves. However, thanks to digital, the accessibility of courses should be facilitated and grow more and more … So, what are the stakes and challenges of accessibility of today’s classes?
Course accessibility in French Universities and Schools today
The digitalisation and accessibility of courses in French universities and colleges is today improving, but there are small changes. What is face-to-face learning and why to refocus on course accessibility?
According to BPI.fr, face-to-face training is a term used to “designate the moment when people who take training are gathered in the same place with a trainer. In-class training corresponds to the traditional training mode, according to a masterful mode and for a predetermined duration “.
Thus, university education is still too traditional and often not adapted to so-called atypical profiles. Everything has to be done in a positive note. This is indeed a triple issue, concerning both the challenges of digital, globalisation and disability situations.
Here is the current overview of French university situation on this subject:
The University Bordeaux Montaigne has been “committed for several years in Distance Training FAD. It offers training designed by university teachers and validated by the same diplomas as face-to-face teaching. ”
The Institute of Distance Learning (IED) of Paris 8 University “allows you to follow university courses if you cannot attend traditional face-to-face learning.”
Another example, at the University of Lorraine, a licence degree can be accessible both in face-to-face in (in one year) or e-learning (in one or two years). Exams take place in Nancy: “In e-learning: for each teaching unit, students are accompanied by referees, via an e-learning platform. A grouping session of one week takes place in Nancy during the first semester.
These various examples show that universities only focus on making distance learning accessible.
Therefore, they should also now focus on the course’s accessibility in classrooms.
Making courses accessible: an issue of diversification and practices
In fact, accessibility of face-to-face courses has many challenges. It is a matter of adapting for different profiles already existing contents and course material. In order for all students to follow, it is necessary to diversify the materials. For example, with written course materials, photos, videos, diagrams, case studies, exercises, multiple-choice questions …
The aim being that everyone can appropriate the knowledge according to the learning method that suits them the best.
Ideally, accessibility of face-to-face courses should support knowledge, interactions between students and pedagogical follow-up.
In both face-to-face and distance learning, the accessibility of courses in schools and universities can be improved through common sense practices.
The goal is to optimise the face-to-face, known as “active pedagogy sessions”. It is necessary to break with a learning mode too “masterful”, academic, simply face to face. The accessibility of dynamic and innovative courses would favour the “active” aspect.
A student with visual impairment from the Loire region explains that some adjustments to teaching methods would allow a better “learning comfort”. For example, we can easily imagine training rooms, courses, equipped with an IW (Interactive Whiteboard): the device records what is written on the board.
This device has several advantages:
• Quality of writing
• Audiovisual recording of the course
• Retransmission on the student’s computer
This solution can be a real added value for all types of students.
Accessibility of courses: audiovisual and multilingual solutions
Finally, to meet the needs of students with diverse and varied profiles – students who prefer an audiovisual learning mode, foreign students, students who require written support, students with disabilities … – many solutions are to be considered, and everything is still to be done in classroom sessions.
This includes subtitles for courses and approaches in different languages.
The Authôt solution is part of this process. Its automatic and manual transcription tool makes it possible to transform the audio into text and to obtain the subtitles.
In addition, we offer subtitle inlays to your course videos, thus meeting digital accessibility standards.
These are practical solutions that develop well in digital learning, remotely, but less developed in classrooms.
Some university courses are actually multilingual but the course materials are not being discussed. However, it is necessary to shed light on course accessibility at various levels.