A qualitative study to understand the perspectives of MOOC providers on accessibility

Iniesto, Francisco; McAndrew, Patrick; Minocha, Shailey and Coughlan, Tim (2022). A qualitative study to understand the perspectives of MOOC providers on accessibility. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 38(1) pp. 87–101.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.6610


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are widely available and have become a common option for learners. However, their full potential cannot be realised if they are not accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities. It is, therefore, important to understand the different stakeholders and their requirements and perspectives in designing accessible MOOCs. This research investigated the perspectives of MOOC providers on MOOC learners who have accessibility needs and the processes used to manage accessibility and MOOCs in their individual organisations. In this paper, we report the results of a study using thematic analysis, which involved 26 semi-structured interviews with MOOC providers and focused on MOOC accessibility. The results show that, while MOOC providers are aware of learners with accessibility needs who are participating in MOOCs, they prioritise legislation over learners’ accessibility preferences. MOOC providers consider the technology of the platform itself creates barriers and are aware of the limitations for learners in finding help, reporting accessibility barriers and obtaining feedback, when participating in MOOCs.

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