Towards student inclusivity during COVID-19: Testing the #datafree Moya messenger
The coronavirus has highlighted the socio-economic plights of many of our students who are not able to continue learning due to the lack of internet access and the high cost of data. As a result, a large majority of students may be excluded when our learning management systems are not zero-rated. On 15 April 2020, not all Network Providers have zero-rated the University of the Western Cape’s iKamva e-learning management system. This has resulted in the need to implement innovative options. This exploratory case study piloted the #datafree Moya Messenger application which should allow 500 students access to instant messages without having data. The pilot performed ten tests to test the usability and accessibility of the application. Nine of the ten tests were achieved. Findings indicated challenges in the initial implementation of the application to the class and the need to have mobile data or WiFi turned on for use. Despite the intention to keep all students connected, the application was not available to iPhone users, so it was not entirely inclusionary. However, it may still be a more inclusive option than using e-learning systems that are not zero-rated.