SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite most of South Korea’s universities moving classes online for two straight semesters due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning infrastructure for students with visual disabilities remains inadequate.
To ‘attend’ remote lectures, students need to play lecture videos, which are primarily offered through university websites. Such websites, however, lack the alternative texts that students with visual disabilities need to listen to remote lectures.
In general, people with visual disabilities use PCs and smartphones by relying on screen reading programs.
These programs operate by reading alternative texts inputted in symbols or images on screen. Without such texts, these programs are unable to operate.
Even in case where the websites have alternative texts in place, they are faulty with many omissions, making it difficult for students with disabilities to even check notices on remote lectures.
“There was a case where I had to take a test without listening to the last lecture since I could download the voice file only a week after the lecture was uploaded,” an university student with a visual disability said.
According to the Ministry of Education, the number of university students with disabilities totaled 7,672 as of August last year, 18 percent or 1,384 of whom had a visual disability.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)