Online Learning

Improving Accessibility for Blind Students in Elearning Environments

Over the years, it has been researched and concluded that the best quality about assistive technology is that it performs the task without the person having to think about the technology itself [1]. For such a large group of people, necessary solutions should be provided to make them independent in terms of their mobility and work [3]. People who have severe visual impairments face many hurdles in accomplishing independent mobility which would be safe and reliable for them [4], [9]. There are several good assistive technological types of equipment and solutions available but some have serious drawbacks [5], [8]. These assistive technological solutions have their own advantages and limitations [40]. It has been reported that assistive technologies are highly used by blind users however some researchers have also discussed the abandonment of such devices by the users after some time [11], [12], [43].

Visually impaired and blind people tend to face problems while traveling alone since they do not have a visual perception and orientation of their environment. Firstly, they face problems in acquiring information for planning their journey. After they have overcome this and have initial basic information, they face difficulties in keeping track of their planned journey and judging if they are going off-track [13], [14], [42].

Electronic travel aids 1 (ETAs) are most important for blind and visually impaired so that they do not have to depend on any other individual for their displacement [3]. Some of the ETAs that have been proposed over the years are the Mowat sensor [15], Teletext and VigitTack [16]. these are used for assistance to avoid obstacles.

Robotic development has also taken place in this field and many tools and inventions have been witnessed. In 2004, Iwatsuka [17] invented the robotic dog. they claimed it to be a smart vision-based walker which was equipped with the speech recognition mechanism.

Cameras were placed at human height to facilitate the experience of a normally sighted person.

Improving Accessibility for Blind Students in Elearning Environments