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BRAIN Journal – Open Education Practices for Learners with Disabilities

Transition from traditional learning to open up education, the equality, openness and access has been reached for all learners without any time and distance limitations. While engaging online learning process, student support is the crucial element to provide active participation and match learners’ needs and expectations during the process. Within a framework of online pedagogy, learner development is challenging pattern and heart of the online practices which mainly three components have been underlined: (1) student support, (2) institutional support, and (3) teaching learning process including assessment as learning procedure in higher education. This study aims to provide an example of open resources education course for orthopedically disabled learners which online training course supports learners and their families for their professional development within a frame of counseling and guidance. The study is significant to underline the principles of online pedagogy within the process and enrich abilities of learners including family members in particular contents. Furthermore, the study shows how open education resources could be motivation for social learning within the life as part of the life-long learning philosophy.  In addition to that, it contributes to underline the success of effective pedagogy in online context for learners with disabilities. Transition from traditional learning to open up education, the equality, openness and access has been reached for all learners without any time and distance limitations.

Higher education institutions turn attention on Massive open online courses (MOOCs) as part of the transformation in education by focusing on innovation and strategic opportunity in education. The literature has pointed out that MOOCs are providing educational opportunities for   lifelong learners and become solution for inclusion in learning.

Open-Education-Practices-Learners-Disabilities

Online learning became an alternative for people with disabilities. This fosters adult education and life long learning in order to create a base for professional development. In this respect, this research study gives an insight on the significance of open resources for gaining quality, transformation and liberalization in education (Gazi & Aksal, 2017). In this study, content analysis method was used to investigate the studies made in Open Educational Resources (OER) and the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the field of educational sciences. This study has conceptual nature which comprehensive literature review shed a light to investigate OER practices for learner with disabilities. Although there are studies (Ossiannilsson, Altinay, Altinay, 2016; Ossiannilsson, Altinay, Altinay, 2016) which highlight online pedagogy principles and practices, the studies stay partial by putting emphasis on open education practices for learners with disabilities. Furthermore, the practice of open education course as an example of training course with its procedure, social dialogue, interaction and learner development has been developed in this research process.

There were 2 research findings in this study: the comprehensive look into OER researches and the maintaining course as a model. It is possible to define Open Course Resources as (Carson, 2005):

  • Organized in the format of a course, free and easily accessible,
  • Usage and adaptation are open to the public with certain license terms (creative commons)
  • It is a high quality educational resource that is not used to give certificates or diplomas alone.

Mass Open Online Courses will bring all the features necessary for participants to have full access over the networks, everyone is open and attendance is usually free. There are often a high number of participants, often more than five hundred. Within a Mass Open Online Course structure, each individual participates in the system free of charge, creates content, interacts, analyzes, and reflects his / her achievements according to learning needs. As this study aims to provide an example of course regarding open education resource, the practical implications of courses and its effectiveness need to be examined from the perspectives and experiences of learners with disabilities. In order to maintain a model of course, firstly the expectations and needs of the learners with orthopedically disability as adult learners were asked to determine the course contents within a framework of professional learning. In fact, the result of workshops and meetings also highlighted the necessity of open education resources for adult learners with disabilities to support social inclusion and equality in learning within a framework of life-long learning. In line with workshop and meetings, particular course contents were constructed: (1) Problems and possible solution path in society for learners with disabilities, (2) Family and communication, (3) Arts for learners with disabilities, (4) Environment, life and travel, (5) Technology.

In conclusion, this conceptual review of literature aimed to reveal the potential opportunities of serving learners with disabilities through open education resources as change and innovation  strategy in higher education. The proposed course as a model and literature gap supported that open education resources can be the solution path for transformation of innovative pedagogy and learning for learners with disabilities. For that transformation, digital leadership and institutional support is crucial to open the doors as educational policy. For learning and innovation in higher education, social inclusion, access, openness and equality need to be implemented with the opportunities of OER in higher education.

Ekaterina Filimon