What is the project about?

This two-year study investigated the accessibility of online learning materials for university-level students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Working in partnership with local charities, Deafax and Goals4life, it also examined whether modifications made to online learning materials had similar benefits for student who have dyslexia, or speak English as a second/other language.

The research team created two versions of online learning materials across two content areas using University of Reading materials on FutureLearn Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC): Begin Robotics; and Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT.  These were a mixture of online written texts and video clips. The latter included both ‘talking head’ type material and Powerpoint slides with voice-over.

One version of the materials was ‘unenhanced’ – in other words, it appeared in exactly the same way as it did in MOOC on FutureLearn. The other version was ‘enhanced’, that is, modified to try to offer greater support. Participants from three groups, either deaf/hard of hearing, with dyslexia or English as a second/other language, viewed either one or other of these sets of materials and were assessed on their learning from them. They also completed questionnaires and interviews to give their views on the set of material they viewed.

Who is running the project?

The project was run by Professor Suzanne Graham at the University of Reading.

Who is funding the project?

The project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Find out more

Visit the project website

A key outcome of this study was the development of a set of recommendations for how to make online learning resources more accessible for different learners in Higher Education.