[Blindmath] Open Source Instructional Material, an opportunity for accessible math?

Bente Casile bjcasile at waketech.edu
Wed Dec 7 07:47:08 CST 2011


Birkir,

 I could not agree more!!  As a math learning specialist I have struggled with lack of accessible material for my blind students.  If things were not changing as much, places like Learning Ally would always have a text available.  My personal dream would be to have these courses stay static in terms of the text and materials so that we could create good quality audio and braille copies along with supplement materials that included tactile graphics and alt text descriptions.  I know that accessability means equal access to any class and students do not like to be separated from the mainstream, but if they had a class that was complete with all the materials necessary for them to truly understand and show their abilities wouldn't that be a good thing?  I have held the "free source" idea out as a retirement project for myself so that at the end of the day I can at least feel like a "made a difference" in this whole situation.   

Bente J. Casile

Bente J. Casile
Math Learning Specialist
Disability Services
Holding Hall Room 124
Wake Technical Community College 
 Email correspondence to and from this address may be subject to the North Carolina Public Records law and may be disclosed to third parties by an authorized state official (NCGS. ch. 132).  Student educational records are subject to FERPA.
 

 
 


>>> "Birkir R. Gunnarsson" <birkir.gunnarsson at gmail.com> 12/6/2011 4:33 PM >>>
Hi all

I am no expert on this, but I know that school districts, and even
entire states, are increasingly looking into adopting open source
instructional material (online, can be viewed freely).
This would, I assume, be particularly appropriate to "classic"
subjects, such as standard math courses (Calculus, Geometry,
Statistics, Linear Algebra) i.e. subjects that do not change at an
insane pace.
If this were to take hold with math courses, it seems like we would
have a huge opportunity to push for accessibility in these types of
materials, and to make free and accessible math courses available to a
lot of people.
It seems like one of the main problems of studying math are the
constant changes in text books and editions, and sometimes that is
definitely more for the financial benefit of the author than actual
quality improvement (not always, I am not saying that a new edition
cannot be a good thing, but there is absotly no definite quality
improvement with subsequent editions of text books).
Has anyone here looked into this? Has there been any interest from
organizations or universities to invest in accessibility, or go after
requiring materials to be accessible?
May be it is still too early, on the other hand, it is good to push
for accessibility in an emerging trend.
Wikipedia was a huge hit, as was NvDA, so why not expect good things
from open source. :) (I conveniently leave out less successful open
source offerings).
I'd be curious to hear opinion and ideas or experiences on this subject.
Cheers
-B

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