[BlindMath] Sourcing MathML textbooks for a blind student.

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Tue Jan 12 21:03:41 UTC 2021

I am the Alternate Format Production Program Manager for the University of Colorado Boulder.  We provide MathML textbooks as needed for our students.

Creating MathML is not difficult, but it can be time-consuming.  This is a project you should absolutely take on yourself, as you can, to get your student what they need.  There are limited resources out there to outsource to.  We take in projects from other campuses, as we can, but we are not able to take on any extra projects this semester due to staffing issues (yes, because of the pandemic!).  

I have a complete production manual for producing alternate format, including how to produce Word with MathType, which is used to create MathML.  Please let me know if you'd like a copy of the manual, and I'd be happy to send it to you. Also, hopefully you are on some AT/AF/DS-related list-servs and have asked there for books that you don't have in house?  I have probably a dozen or more books in MathML at this point, and I'm always happy to share files with other institutions.

*Please note:  I am currently working remotely, so can be reached by email.*

Susan Kelmer 
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs 
T 303 735 4836

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-----Original Message-----
From: BlindMath <blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Michael Evers via BlindMath
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 1:09 PM
To: blindmath at nfbnet.org
Cc: Michael Evers <michaelevers at southalabama.edu>
Subject: [BlindMath] Sourcing MathML textbooks for a blind student.

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
BlindMath mailing list
BlindMath at nfbnet.org
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