The TeSLA system creates new opportunities for people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to be included in quality e-learning experiences and receive support adapted to their individual educational needs. By assuring learners’ identification and authorship TeSLA can support opportunities for students to take assessments at home or other convenient location. The Sofia University TeSLA team sought to engage SEND students in TeSLA by phoning them personally and inviting them to take part in the pilot and individual interviews. We explained the aims of the project and the benefits for students with different types of disabilities and as a result eight SEND students from the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Pre-School and Primary School Education agreed to participate. The eight students were from the following disability groups:
As a whole the SEND students enjoyed using the TeSLA instruments as they felt that it made their education more exciting, pleasurable and up-to-date.
As a major advantage they point out the possibility of having an e-exam at home, or any other lace, without requiring assistance from another person, and in this way the TeSLA system “makes learning and assessment easier”. The students with severe motor disability expressed a positive attitude towards the various instruments of the TeSLA system: face recognition, voice recognition, keystroke dynamics, and plagiarism detection.
“Such an authentication system is a necessity for people with disabilities and for all who, for serious justifiable reasons, cannot attend classes. It could overcome the need for physical presence during the exams”. Say Petko, fro Sofia University.
The visual impaired students also perceived TeSLA as an innovative system that supports accessible education and fair assessment. They could do their assignments from home with a high level of security.
Undoubtedly the TeSLA system is beneficial for SEND students through its pedagogical and technical potential to support better access to e-assessment, but the participants also experienced technical problems in using the instruments. The main conclusion of the individual interviews is that SEND students could benefit greatly from the use of the TeSLA system, but that it also poses some restrictions in relation to accessibility and usability which are specific for each disability group.
“It is more convenient to conduct a home exam at certain times when I cannot physically attend the class.” Say Desislav, from Sofia University.
“I’ve had moments when I cannot get to the university building”.
It follows, therefore, that an individual approach needs to be applied depending on the specific educational needs of students. We recommend that the further development of the TeSLA system seeks to address the identified restrictions in relation to accessibility and usability. In the next stage the following improvements are perhaps the important priorities:
Sofi University Team
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