[accessibleimage] Making Science courses accessible to visually impaired students

The Science accessibility project: 
Improving Science Courses for Visually Impaired Students

The Open University is a distance learning institution with over 250,000
students and of these over 10,000  have declared that they are disabled or
have special additional requirements. One of the key features of the
University is that it has no entrance requirements- it is open to all. It is
possible for students to study individual courses, general degrees, specific
named degrees or undertake postgraduate studies.  The Open University is
proud of its claim to be 'Open to all'. In view of this, it has funded the
Science accessibility project to ensure that it is following best practice
to allow visually impaired students the opportunity to study Science
courses.  

Science subjects present many challenges for students with visual
impairments because teaching methods are based on intensive use of non-text
elements (graphs, tables, data sets, diagrams, and other visual
representations), models and practical work. Current advice and guidance for
OU staff concerned with teaching science subjects is too general and
non-subject specific to enable them to directly understand and manage the
teaching, learning and curriculum issues as they relate to visually impaired
students. 

The University has commissioned Dr Derek Naysmith, an independent
consultant, to undertake this study on their behalf. Derek obtained a BSc in
Applied Physics, his PhD and was a college lecturer for 6 years before
losing his sight in 1986. Since then he has obtained degrees in Computing
and Human Geography, worked as a Systems Analyst for 20 years and has been
an independent consultant for 4 years. Derek has been a trustee of the
British Computer Association of the Blind for 15 years serving as Company
Secretary for 9 and Chairman for 4. 

By investigating how blind and visually impaired students are best enabled
to enjoy studying and achieve learning outcomes in science subjects, the
project aims to 
        
.       determine whether the OU is providing reasonable adjustments for 
Blind/VI science students compared to other universities.
.       provide better guidance for the Science Faculty in the design and
delivery of inclusive modules and qualifications
.       Seek to ensure that visually impaired students have more
opportunities to study Science courses at the University and to ensure
appropriate support and adjustments are in place.

To help to achieve these objectives the University is seeking feedback from
visually impaired students who have studied Science at University/college
level.  We are also seeking information from support and academic staff who
have assisted visually impaired students to study science courses.  We want
to find out any adjustments that helped visually impaired students enjoy
their studies, any techniques or equipment that assisted students and to
find out issues that made studying difficult. To obtain this information we
would appreciate it if students or support staff could complete the
appropriate attached questionnaire.  Be assured that the information you
provide will be treated in the utmost confidence. 

If you wish to discuss the project with Derek Naysmith contact him via
Derek.naysmith@xxxxxxxxxxx .
 
Your participation in the Science Accessibility project is much appreciated
and will provide valuable information to allow us to understand how to
improve the accessibility of Open University science teaching.

Derek Naysmith


-----Original Message-----
From: accessibleimage-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:accessibleimage-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Vince Thacker
Sent: Saturday, October 09, 2010 6:23 PM
To: accessibleimage@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [accessibleimage] "In Touch" at the Textile Museum of Canada

Thought this might be of interest to some members, and I hope it's not too
far off topic.

Good wishes,
Vince.

Textile Museum of Canada | In Touch

http://www.textilemuseum.ca/intouch/

In Touch: Connecting Cloth, Culture + Art

We come across textiles of many styles and colours every day. Each one is a
product of human creation, some practical, others ornamental. The stories
and images depicted on cloth represent a recording of tradition and history
- they are humans, deities and other figures found in everyday life. 
Enter now and discover five worlds of textiles.

Human hands transform raw materials into textile objects of beauty and
meaning. Textiles express different ways of living and reveal stories about
their makers. On cloth, our traditions are deepened, diversified and
documented in manners unique to particular cultures or environments.




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