IGF 2020 WS #248 e-Learning: how to tackle accessibility challenges online


Organizer 1: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Organizer 3: Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Speaker 1: Gloria Alaneme, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Melaré Vieira Barros Daniela , Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Nancy Pyrini, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Amiel Tel, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)


Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Online duration reset to 60 minutes.
Policy Question(s)

This is a non-exhaustive list of policy questions to be discused: Is eLearning fully inclusive? Which tools are needed to implement e-Learning? How can institutions (both public and private) provide better infrastructure for teachers and students? How to tackle different educational needs (basic vs. superior, students with special needs, etc)? How to reach students with lower incomes who don't have full access to Internet? How to tackle different learning curves (e.g. younger vs. older people, people with disabilities, etc)? Should all fields of study use the same approaches? If not, what are the differences and how they should be tackled?

The expansion of network infrastructure has been transforming many societal fields and definitely one of these is education. e-Learning, the practice of facilitating learning by the use of online technology, is little by little being implemented in several contexts. Furthermore, crises such as the current global pandemic may boost the development of eLearning approaches. However many challenges and questions are still open. By organizing break-out group discussions, we expect to discuss these and other issues and try to figure out possible solutions to ensure that online education provides more (and not less!) accessibility to education.


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities


This 90-min session will discuss how e-Learning has been impacting society, focusing on the challenges for its adequate implementation. By organizing break-out groups discussions with the participation of some experts in the field of online education, we expect to create an interactive environment which will empower participants to bring their views and proposals for approaches on how to tackle this issue. The session will be split in three parts. In the first part, the session methodology will be explained, with some brief introduction from the moderators and guest speakers. In the second part, three groups will be formed (each guest speaker will be assigned to one), and participants will discuss one of these topics that deal with different accessibility issues and reflect on innovative methodologies to tackle them: (i) infrastructure challenges; (ii) digital divide challenges; (iii) fields of study challenges. In the final part, each group will present their findings.

Expected Outcomes

By proposing a dynamic environment with parallel group discussions we believe we will have an optimal use of the session time in tackling such a complex issue as the one of online education. The session would also help participants to test their ideas and initiatives among their peers, and the findings could be used to bring back to their communities new approaches on how to deal with the issue.

For the first part, the organizers will introduce the methodology and give 5 minutes for each guest speaker to present their view on the topic. In the second part, the organizers will help the mediation of the groups, rotating between them to promote the debate. The organizers should avoid leading the debate, since the idea is that the group comes with ideas themselves. The organizers' role is merely incentivizing the discussion. In the third part, the organizers will moderate so group representative's can present their findings.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Internet Governance is multifaceted, and definitely online education is one of its aspects. We believe that approaches to eLearning issues should be done both on a global and community level: while some challenges are macro (such as infrastructure), others need to consider a case-by-case approach, based on a community's needs. Therefore, by promoting an interactive method composed by a diverse group it's expected that many interesting ideas may be proposed during this session.

Relevance to Theme: The topic of online education is a perfect fit to the "Inclusion" Thematic Track, since in order to the Internet to be fully equitable and inclusive, a fair access to learning should also be considered. Furthermore, all the raised questions focus on accessibility-related issues, on some of the several dimensions it has (infrastructure, digital divide, areas of study).

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Streamyard for online moderation in youtube