Accessibility of Massive Open Online Courses on Mathematics for Students with Disabilities

  • Yekaterina Kosova Taurida Academy of V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal university
  • Milera Izetova Taurida Academy of V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal university
Keywords: MOOC, E-learning, mathematical education, distance learning technologies, web content accessibility, people with disabilities


The paper studies issues of accessibility of massive open online courses (MOOCs) for persons with disabilities. By browsing the catalogues of five leading MOOC-platforms with Russian-language content, 56 MOOCs on undergraduate mathematical disciplines were found. As a result of expert analysis according to 70 criteria, MOOCs’ accessibility for people with disabilities was estimated. Any mistakes related to hyperlinks interpretation, audio playback quality, visualization in graphic browsers, adaptation to mobile devices, color contrast and keyboard controls were not revealed. At the same time, the analysis showed that 100% MOOCs offer no features for customizing a user interface, do not provide access to the content through a text browser; 98% of digital documents, 82% of math content and 91% of tests are incorrectly interpreted by screen readers; 64%, 66% and 52% of the courses, respectively, have no subtitles, shorthand transcripts and outlines to video lessons; no courses provide video interpretation using sign language; in all MOOCs the audio track is not enough for adequate perception of video lessons. The results indicate low accessibility of Russian-language mathematical MOOCs for people with disabilities, especially with severe visual impairments. The accessibility problems are related to technological limitations of the MOOC platforms and to developer errors. The results suggest the need for revising the MOOCs in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG2.1); guaranteeing strict adherence to the guidelines by platforms’ administrators before posting new courses; training MOOCs’ authors and developers in creating accessible learning content; involving persons with disabilities in beta testing of MOOCs.


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How to Cite
Kosova, Yekaterina, and Milera Izetova. 2020. “Accessibility of Massive Open Online Courses on Mathematics for Students With Disabilities”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 1 (March), 205-29.