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Assistive technology: A delivery model for college and university student services Robert Perkins School of Education University of Charleston, SC Charleston,

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Presentation on theme: "Assistive technology: A delivery model for college and university student services Robert Perkins School of Education University of Charleston, SC Charleston,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Assistive technology: A delivery model for college and university student services Robert Perkins School of Education University of Charleston, SC Charleston, SC 29424 (843) 953-5699

2 South Carolina Assistive Technology Project

3 South Carolina Assistive Technology Project Grant Duxbury Braille Translation Program ET Braille Printer Dell Computer and HP Scanner JAWS for Windows OpenBook

4 Disability Statistics 43 million Americans have a disability 4.3 million Americans have visual impairments 4.5 million students have disabilities

5 Legislation Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

6 Litigation In State of New Mexico v. House, Gallegos, and Foley, 1992, it was found that public agencies must provide information in alternative formats.

7 Litigation In 1992 Loyola Marymount University was ordered to provide notes of class lectures and discussions either by having a classmate process them into Braille or provide students with the ability to take their own notes. Tests must be provided on audiotape or Braille at the student’s preference. Materials must be given at the same time sighted students received them. A computer modified with voice output and screen reading capabilities must also be provided during the same hours computers were available for sighted students.

8 Litigation In 1994 Los Rios Community College District, OCR defined two types of print material. –The first type was print materials where comprehension is a critical factor, such as exams. This material must be provided in the student’s preferred format. –The second type is more general material such as handbooks, class schedules, etc. and can be provided through audiotape, readers or synthesized speech

9 Litigation In 1995, Purdue University agreed to –Enlarge print handouts and deliver them at the same time other students received theirs –Notify all instructors that they must describe information on chalkboards –Provide all printed materials in the library through electronic reading equipment or sighted readers –Provide adaptive computer equipment

10 Litigation In 1996 San Jose State University ensured the university would provide Internet access to a visually impaired student. Computers (both Macintosh and IBM) were to have adaptive technology to make them accessible Sighted readers could only be used where adaptive technology did not exist

11 1. What services has the college provided you to help you in courses you take at the college? The college has provided the following services. –An Optical Character Recognition system (reads some textbooks with synthetic speech) –Lab computers that have been speech-enabled through screen reading software –Reader services (to record books that are not already available on tape and/or can not be scanned with OCR solutions) –Readers for course examination materials (exam readers)

12 2. How have you felt about the services provided? Access to textbooks is a large concern for visually impaired students. Until recently, the college has not provided modern OCR solutions to enable visually impaired/blind students to read their assigned material. The OCR solutions that have existed are over a decade out of date, and are slow and inaccurate.

13 3. Were these services adequate? No. I've had to come up with many of my own solutions to read textbooks, handle course requirements, etc. Handling things on your own is a good thing to some extent, but other disabled students who may not have my technical skills will have considerable problems.

14 4. Were these services provided in a timely manner? No. I have had to constantly annoy people and complain to countless others in order to get many things accomplished. As a Computer Science major, I require access to campus machines in order to perform my course work. Many people are notified of this need prior to the semester that I will be taking the classes requiring the adaptation, and I am still waiting for people to get through the red tape half-way through the semester.

15 5. How have faculty responded to your needs for accommodation? On a whole, most professors are willing to make whatever adjustments or modifications that are required for me to participate in their courses. I rarely require any adaptation at the classroom level, however. In most classes, the only needs that I have are for professors to orally indicate anything that is written on a board or overhead projector and approval to have a reader from the College Skills Lab administer all tests and exams. On an individual basis, the staff is generally helpful, but this does not seem to be the case when more than one person becomes involved.

16 6. What accommodations were provided for course material? Readers are a way of gaining access to printed material.

17 7. Were these accommodations adequately provided? C of C insists on having disabled students go through the Disabled Student Services office in order to gain services from a reader. The time lag in this method makes it impractical.

18 8. Were course materials provided in a timely manner? Students, learning of the reading assignment from a professor, must make a request for a reader to the DOSS office, wait for the office to schedule someone to read the material, have that person deliver the recordings to the DOSS office, and finally make the recordings available to the student who is requesting the service. This procedure is further complicated by the added steps of trying to find people, waiting for them to return calls, etc. It is unrealistic to expect that this procedure will require less than a week to complete.

19 9. What suggestions would you have to offer that could improve college life for students with disabilities? Other institutions put students directly in contact with the readers. A student must notify the reader that they will need materials recorded. When the recording is complete, the student is contacted by the reader. This can still take a few days, but is a far more responsive method than the current practice.

20 10. Do you have any other comments? Provision of adaptive access to campus computing facilities including screen reading software, screen magnification software, and alternative input equipment have been slow. It is not so unrealistic to expect some workstations in each computing center that are configured with adaptive software. Currently, however, these adapted workstations are constantly in and out of order, and relying on them for any type of regular usage is a serious mistake.

21 Conclusions Legislation & Litigation –Requires adaptive technology be available –Requires material be delivered in a timely manner –Important material needs to be in the students preferred format

22 Conclusions Models of delivery –Central location for producing materials –Office of Disabilities –Student with own equipment

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