Using Virtual Environments to Model Inclusive Design in Distance Education

ID: 34822 Type: Full Paper
  1. Thomas Conway, Megan Conway, Steven Brown, and Hana Omar, Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii, United States

Tuesday, October 18 2:00-2:30 PM Location: Kahuku

Presider: Ibrahim Farouck, Otaru University of Commerce, Japan

Abstract: This article provides an overview of the importance of Universally Designed Distance Education and describes a 3-D virtual-world instructional unit, Accessibility and Distance Education, created in Second Life (SL). The application of Universal Design in the context of Distance Education is increasingly important given the growing utilization of Distance Education as a means of delivering postsecondary curriculum. With appropriate attention to accessibility and Universal Design, Distance Education has the potential to mitigate many physical and social barriers experienced by postsecondary students with disabilities. SL is an open access technology platform enabling users to design and create content in a virtual world. SL is especially useful in the context of Distance Education because it allows users to virtually “experience” environments and provides hands-on training in a wide variety of contexts. This paper describes an instructional unit designed to educate postsecondary faculty about how to make distance education accessible to students with disabilities.

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