Challenges in accessing electronic information resources by students with visual impairments in Kenyatta University Post Modern Library

Thumbnail Image
Kiambati, Fridah Gatwiri
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Kenyatta University
The increasing provision of Web-based information resources has moved from a simple text interface to dynamic and interactive de¬signs. While this move has provided people with a more creative and flexible experience, there are dangers that some people will be excluded because they cannot use standard methods of access. In this light, this study came timely to explore the challenges that students with visual impairment faced in accessing electronic information resources. Technological, institutional and personal factors were examined closely to find out their related challenges in accessing e-resources by students with visual impairment. The study’s specific objectives were; to examine factors that affect information seeking by students with visual impairment, to identify the challenges that students with visual impairment face in accessing e-resources, to find out how the use of adaptive technology affect students with visual impairment in accessing e-resources and to describe the training offered to students with visual impairment in accessing e-resources. The experiential learning theory proposed by Carl Rogers in 1986 was used. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design to describe the challenges that students with visual impairment faced in accessing electronic information resources. The study was carried out at Kenyatta University Post Modern Library. The population comprised of 80 students and 5 staff members. The sample consisted of all the total population. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the students while personal interviews were conducted for the staff. A pilot study was conducted before the actual study to pretest the tools thus ensuring their reliability and validity. The data collected was analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. For Quantitative methods, descriptive statistics was used. Specifically, Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to generate frequencies and percentages. After data analysis; tables, graphs and charts were used to present quantitative data while qualitative data was presented in textual mode. The study established that most of the students were not able to retrieve and use e-resources though their own efforts, most students with visual impairment used other students to read for them, more than half of the students found it difficult to use e-resources, more than half of the students had not received any user education on how to access e-resources and that staff serving users with visual impairment had average skills in assistive technology (AT). The study concluded that: students with visual impairments lacked independence in using e-resources, assistive technology is a key aspect in the access of e-resources by users with visual challenges and that literacy levels in AT and e-resource for students and staff is a key challenge. The study recommended library management to encourage independence of learners through equipping them with self reliant skills like information literacy and AT skills, Organize training and induction forums for staff and students on AT and e-resources and provide adequate AT devices. Further research was also highly recommended
A research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the Degree of Master of Library and Information Science of Kenyatta University, School of Education