Barriers to Removing Barriers of Online Learning

Maya Gunawardena, Kusumi Vasantha Dhanapala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In response to the turmoil and the anxiety created by the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities transitioned to online delivery with limited support and resources. University teachers adapted to the online environment to ensure the effectiveness of students’ reaching their outcomes. Using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a framework, this study analysed ethnographic data from two experienced university teacher narratives about their online teaching strategies in two different university settings, in a developed and a developing country. The results showed that teachers used more or less similar strategies based on the affordances provided within the Learning Management Systems (LMS) and by also accessing other existing technological tools. However, the results showed inequalities in students’ participation due to their financial, economic, and socio-cultural backgrounds. This paper emphasises the need for investigation into personalised and inclusive learning for consolidating and accommodating social and geographical barriers to minimise inequalities in students’ access to education. Students should not be deprived by the digital and technical divide limiting equal opportunities for learning and development in the so-called ‘global village’ in the 21 st century and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)264-280
Number of pages17
JournalCommunications of the Association for Information Systems
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023


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