Case Study – Sociology and Language / Comprehension Difficulties

Case study about an Anthropology student with dyslexia. She discusses how a virtual learning environment has helped her.

This case study is taken from The ALERT project (Accessibility in Learning Environments and Related Technologies)   (information extracted and accessed July 2007)

The ALERT project (Accessibility in Learning Environments and Related Technologies) aimed to improve the accessibility of online learning in specific subject areas. In particular, to identify methods of supporting disabled students to enable them to achieve the pedagogical objectives of their modules through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Student 3 is a full-time Anthropology student with dyslexia who has little confidence in using computers, yet rates her competence in using the VLE as good. She accesses the VLE every day but does not feel that it has any effect as yet on face-to-face delivery of her classes as she is a relatively new user. Student 3 sees the potential for the VLE to decrease the amount of notes she takes in lectures, but hasn’t had sufficient experience to state that this is the case.  

Student 3 is very keen to receive further instruction on the VLE and feels that awareness raising and training events must take place regularly for it to be used to its full potential.

On learning

“What I’m planning to do is to take a lot of the notes that are on (the VLE) and then go through my notes filling in the notes from (the VLE)… cos for me writing is a really good way of absorbing information.”

On the VLE

“All the lectures are up (on the VLE), our tutor always tells us our work in the tutorial, but also sends it out again (via the VLE), you can always ask him questions…he gets straight back to you. You get all your assignments (through the VLE), and you get all the notes after the tutorial. It’s brilliant. You feel supported, and you feel like, if your notes aren’t great, you can get better ones there.”

On e-tivities

“We have a lot of ethnographic films in Anthropology…if they could put them on (the VLE) and you could watch them you could watch it in your own room…cos some of the film things are at quite awkward times and they’re optional so people end up missing a few of them and then they’re referred to in our exams, so it would be good. And for revision purposes as well.”

On disability

“When I arrived I found that the whole lecture system was just totally non-compatible with my problems, because it’s like a whole lot of new vocabulary and very quick and just the process of getting the notes down is just not working for me at all, because my spelling is horrendous, and I didn’t want to write the words down wrong and learn them wrong, so I went to speak to the disability support service and they’ve been great at suggesting methods to help me…”


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