Online Learning Update

November 28, 2011

How a Professor Gave a Blind Student a New Outlook on Science

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

By Alexandra Rice, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Amanda Lacy was frustrated with her physics class and ready to drop it. Ms. Lacy, a blind student at Austin Community College, is a computer-science major who loves her classes but often struggles in them, not because she doesn’t understand the material, but because she doesn’t have access to adequate textbooks. The college provides blind students with digital copies of textbooks so they can listen to them on the computer or read them using an electronic Braille display. But the figures and graphs in Ms. Lacy’s physics book don’t easily translate the same way that text does. When Ms. Lacy showed her digital textbook to her computer-science professor, Richard Baldwin, he was shocked, she said. He told her if someone didn’t take her problem seriously there was no way she would make it through the course. So Mr. Baldwin began creating an open-access online tutorial for blind students learning physics.

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