My Blog

COVID-19, Masks, and Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

When we were all told to wear masks, one of my first thoughts was how challenging that would be for some individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to read lips or see facial expressions. Well, a student from Eastern Kentucky University studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing obviously had the… Continue reading COVID-19, Masks, and Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Have to teach your science class online? Don’t forget to make it accessible!

As the prospect of millions of students across the world attending school remotely has suddenly become a reality, instructors, many of whom have never taught an online course, are scrambling to convert classes usually taught in a face-to-face format into ones that can be effectively delivered online. Unquestionably, educators care about their students.  So I… Continue reading Have to teach your science class online? Don’t forget to make it accessible!

Accommodating Colorblind Students in Biology

There are several different types of colorblindness. Here is some good information from the National Eye Institute about colorblindness in general and the different types of colorblindness.  According to Kolandaisamy, Subaramaniam, and Heng (2019) about 8% of males and 0.5% of females are colorblind.  Less commonly, individuals may struggle discerning blue and green, and yellow… Continue reading Accommodating Colorblind Students in Biology

Students with blindness in biology

Our college has been working toward the goal of full accessibility for years.  Though we have more work to accomplish, we have made great progress.  A real test of accessibility will occur, though, when our department supports a student with total blindness in our general biology classes. We have a lot of experience supporting students… Continue reading Students with blindness in biology

Accommodating Students with Deafness

I was fortunate enough to attend a conference in October 2019 entitled, Opening the Pathway to Technician Careers: A Conference for Biology Teachers of Deaf Students.  The conference, held at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York state, was offered by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in association with DeafTEC and Bio-Quest.  Participants… Continue reading Accommodating Students with Deafness

Get free 3D-printed models for students with blindness and visual impairments

It's hard to believe that 3D printing was the stuff of science fiction not all that long ago. Even though 3D printing was invented in the 1980s, with printers costing more than $20,000 most of us hadn't even heard of it - until recently, that is.  Now that 3D printers are affordable, applications of the… Continue reading Get free 3D-printed models for students with blindness and visual impairments

Why You Should Add Audio Descriptions to Explain the Visual Content of Videos

What is an audio description?  It is a soundtrack that describes visual content that would not be evident from subtitles or closed captions alone.  The descriptions don't explain every detail, but convey the general visual content.  Here's a website from UC Berkeley and a website from WebAIM that have more information. This a good example. While the technology… Continue reading Why You Should Add Audio Descriptions to Explain the Visual Content of Videos

Touch your way to learn science!

I recently received an email from a PhD student with blindness who is studying human development and learning.  He asked if he could "touch my way" to review the structure of a neuron for a psychology class.  Absolutely! The experience made me realize that it's not just science students with visual impairments who might need… Continue reading Touch your way to learn science!

Use YouTube to Add Subtitles to Narrated PowerPoint Lectures

A few years ago I narrated PowerPoint lectures for my hybrid microbiology course in which students take the lecture portion of the course online. I used Camtasia for Mac to narrate all of the lectures. I really like that software, and TechSmith's technical support is great. To make those narrated lectures accessible, I now must add subtitles.… Continue reading Use YouTube to Add Subtitles to Narrated PowerPoint Lectures

Why You Should Check the Accessibility of the Textbooks for Your Class

To conform with a lawsuit settlement, all of the class materials and resources at my college must be 100% accessible.  That includes the texts and any online publisher-provided resources used in our classes as well.  We are not permitted to use an inaccessible textbook unless an accessible version is available.  Most publishing companies are aware… Continue reading Why You Should Check the Accessibility of the Textbooks for Your Class