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Santiago Criollo-C, Sergio Luján-Mora, Ángel Jaramillo-Alcázar, William Villegas-Ch. Inclusivity in higher education through LMS platforms in developing countries. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (Edulearn 2016), p. 147-153, Barcelona (Spain), July 4-6 2016. ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4. https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.1023
This paper presents a comparative study of the accessibility of the Learning Management System (LMS) of three universities used in a developing country. According to UNICEF report of 2015, there are about 121 million people without access to education in the world. People who do not have access to education mostly experience some sort of disability. According to the World Health Organization report of 2011, It is estimated that 15% of the world population suffers some kind of disability, this represents more than 1,000 million people.
According to the United Nations, in America there are several developing countries, including Ecuador, which will be taken for the study. In this country, according to the National Council for Disability Equality, There exist 416,177 persons with some kind of disability, representing 2.16% of the total population. In the academic year 2015-2016 there were an estimated 277,200 students who were presented to make a preliminary examination on admission to universities. The 0.43% of the number of applicants has some type of disability. For this reason, the universities should have an inclusive education system.
Currently, there are several universities in Ecuador using the LMS platforms. By using these platforms, universities facilitate the learning mode and they break all physical barriers between the institution and the student. The platform helps teachers to manage content efficiently and students to access this information over the Internet. Unfortunately, these platforms are not usually inclusive.
Each country should guarantee to all people the right to education, according to Article 24 the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Ecuador, as part of this committee, has an obligation to promote, protect and ensure that people with disabilities benefit of human rights in equality of conditions before the law. The Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador guarantees education for all people, regardless of any disabling status or disability.
In Ecuador, there is currently a classification of the universities established by the National Secretariat of Higher Education Science and Technology (SENESCYT). This classification establishes four categories, A, B, C and D. This paper presents a comparative study of the accessibility of the three universities LMS platforms in category A in Ecuador: Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN), Escuela Politécnica Superior del Litoral (ESPOL) and Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).
Assessment, monitoring and tracking of accessibility in LMS platforms ensure that education is accessible to all people. The results of this study show that accessibility barriers are present in each of the three systems evaluated. The main objective of the study is to detect accessibility barriers, hoping that one day can achieve universal access to education in Ecuador. Besides, some advices to improve the accessibility of LMS are provided based on the findings of this study.