[BlindMath] Sourcing MathML textbooks for a blind student.

Michael Evers michaelevers at southalabama.edu
Tue Jan 12 20:08:50 UTC 2021

Hello everyone,

              My name is Michael Evers and I am a member of the National
Federation of The Blind and I work as an assistive technology specialist on
a university campus.  Unfortunately the pandemic has created some
unexpected challenges this semester when trying to get a student’s
textbooks converted into MathML.

The student I am working with is a totally blind 4th year Engineering Major
who prefers to have their textbooks transcribed into MathML, because they
are able to use it to help them with understanding complex formulas,
 mathematical equations and advanced technical concepts.  Until this
semester, our office was able to contract with another university to
perform transcription services by having this student’s textbooks converted
into the MathML format.  Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic, they
are unable to fulfill this task for us, because they do not have the
on-site human resources available to perform this service for other
colleges and universities needing these critical materials.  Sadly, I am
unable to perform this task myself, because I do not possess the required
technical knowledge to convert materials into the MathML format, even as a
high functioning totally blind person.  So I am asking for help with
finding the additional resources for getting this accomplished.

              When I have tried reaching out to the book publishers about
this issue last semester, they acted as if they do not know what MathML is
or even how to convert their materials into that format.  I feel terrible
about this, because it is my job to solve these problems and I am running
out of options.  The last thing that I want to do is to tell my students or
my supervisor that I am sorry that I cannot help them, because I feel that
it would simply be unacceptable for me to just give up on helping my
employer fulfill their required obligations under the Americans With
Disabilities Act.  The pandemic has made this process extremely difficult
for a lot of universities to meet their accessibility requirements and it’s
very frustrating for many ADA offices on college and university campuses.
This is a real problem, which requires a real solution and I need help.
So, can someone please help me figure this out?  Thank you and I look
forward to hearing from you soon.  Have a great day.


Michael Evers

Mike Evers MP.A.

Sensory Impaired Technology Coordinator

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