ICT in Education/Change Projects/2016A Tanzania Role of ICT and Pedagogical development

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ICT in Education/Change Projects/2016A Tanzania Training students[edit]

Title of the change project : SIGN LANGUAGE FOR DIGITAL LEARNING : " INTEGRATION OF MULTIMEDIA SIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING MATERIALS

                             TO ENHANCE TEACHING FOR STUDENTS WITH HEARING IMPAIRED AT THE OPEN UNIVERSITY OF TANZANIA "


Change agent : Erasmus Rukantabula

Email : erukantabula@gmail.com

Name of the organisation : The Open University of Tanzania (OUT)

Country : Tanzania

Started date : May 2016

Status (finished/ongoing) : Ongoing


Introduction/OUT Background


The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) offers educational programmes through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. Distance learning creates flexible learning environment leading to protracted periods of course completion. Being an ODL institution OUT operates through a network of 30 Regional Centres, 10 Coordinating Centres and more than 70 Study Centres in Tanzania and abroad.

OUT uses technologies in delivering education that include broadcasting, telecasting, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), correspondence, enhanced face to face, seminars, and contact programmes. A customized Learning Management System known as OUTLeMS (Open University of Tanzania Learning Management System) is currently in use which is available through http://elms.out.ac.tz .

The system has 520 different courses at different stages of development. 50 courses among them in total have been added with multimedia while the majority are in plain text.In attempt to integrate multimedia sign language learning materials for the hearing impaired students in teaching and learning, the University has secured recording materials such as a digital camera, a multimedia studio is in process of being established and a sign language interpreter hired.

Despite all the effort done by the University, the students with hearing impaired are still experiencing some challenges associated with learning at the University. Introducing interactive multimedia sign language learning materials can be a solution that will not only support the hearing impaired student at OUT but also students in remote areas of Tanzania offering them the opportunity to learn and access the University education interactively regardless their geographical location.


The Challenge

The student population at OUT is scattered throughout the country with some in urban and other in remote areas .The population also consists of hearing impaired students and it is a challenge to facilitate physical classes for all these groups. This embrace the establishment of the Learning Management System that will support their studies regarding their geographical location .

However most of the course materials in the OUTLeMS are in text format and lack of interactivity and as a result these students cannot understand the courses like other normal students or non-hearing impaired students.

In response to limitations that students were facing like the usage and access of education technologies for learning, the University established Computer laboratories in various regional centres that hearing impaired students along with other students can use and access them, however hearing impaired students face challenges to study at their own as the learning materials are in plain text, not explainable to facilitate them to understand the subject taught in detail. Having the course materials developed and converted to integrate multimedia sign language video tutorials can overcome these challenges.

This therefore calls for concerted efforts to learn and improve University website and learning resources being accessed both online and offline so as it will offer more dynamic ,in texting detailed explanation of the course material to be interactive and supportive for the hearing impaired students to access University education.


Objectives

  1. To improve distance learning education for hearing impaired students through the use of multimedia technologies like use of sign language interpreter.
  2. To provide both technical and pedagogical support for hearing impaired students through using online learning materials.
  3. To increase the number of hearing impaired students due to improve means of accessing learning materials resources.


Target group

This project targets disadvantages group of students in the society particular those with disabilities of hearing in the country to access University education effectively and interactively. The project also targets to expose and provide awareness to lectures and instructors to technological way of teaching this kind of students.


Activities

The project will comprise different phase of activities including;

  • Development of sign language video tracks that will support to enrich existing online text based content.
  • Embed digital multimedia content into the OUT learning management system.
  • Training and educating teachers on developing contents for student with special needs and students training on how to access courses with multimedia.


Expected Results


  1. Enhanced accessibility of learning resources for hearing impaired students.
  2. Improved learning process for hearing impaired students; means of delivering and accessing of ODL materials through the use multimedia technologies.
  3. ODL materials incorporated with multimedia to enable the entire OUT population to access and use regardless of their special needs.
  4. Staff capacitated with developing contents for student with special needs.


Conclusion


Education for All’, means that equal opportunities and education services should be for every student, regardless of religion, race, sex, and disability without discrimination between the normal and deaf students. The hearing impaired’ higher education is crucial, as it allows them to attain valuable knowledge and Skills for social survival and employment, just like the Normal-Hearing Students. Therefore they should not be neglected in education system just because they’re disabled. As the technologies become more advanced and more available there is a significant opportunity to improve the quality of life of this disadvantaged group significantly.