[nabs-l] accomodations for english classes

Lucy Sirianni lucysirianni at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 27 08:17:12 UTC 2015

Hi Ashley,

As a doctoral candidate in English and a college-level English 
instructor, let me take a stab at answering just a few of your 

First, I would encourage you to obtain the text in a format you 
can access via Braille display.  This will not only allow you to 
access them in class but will also make it much easier to 
integrate quotes into your writing, as you can simply paste them 
into your analysis.  Many of the Norton anthologies are available 
via Bookshare.  If the one you're using isn't, feel free to 
contact me directly, as I frequently teach from various Norton 
anthologies and may be able to point you toward an accessible 
version of the one assigned for your class.

Second, I would ask for both comments and handouts to be sent to 
you electronically.  These are very reasonable accommodations to 
request and ones I routinely offer students with no inconvenience 
to myself.  Assuming you do indeed have a note-taker, you 
shouldn't need the handouts too far in advance of class, so the 
professor shouldn't need to alter his or her schedule of lesson 
planning substantially.

I haven't worked with Blackboard or with texts in audio format, 
so I can't offer any input on your other questions, but please 
don't hesitate to be in touch if I can help with anything else.

Enjoy the course!


----- Original Message -----
From: Ashley Bramlett via nabs-l <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org
Date sent: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:24:54 -0500
Subject: [nabs-l] accomodations for english classes

Hi all,

I’m taking a literature elective.  A year or so back, I tried 
taking one and wrote to you all about a professor not interested 
in accomodating me.
He showed videos of the literature he used and I would not be 
able to access that outside class with a reader among other 

Fortunately, my new professor for short story seems nice and 
willing to help.  No videos are used and his class is very 
auditory with lots of discussion; sometimes in small groups and 
sometimes as a whole class.

Here are my  questions and concerns though.
Note that I have the book in audio form now, but am looking for 
it in text form and may ask my dss office to get it from the 
publisher.  I generally have found publisher files unfriendly 
though as its pdf.  the words are often smashed together and 
words are broken up with hyphens as jaws reads them.
But, I might need to try that way as I really need to see the 
text and spelling of some words.  Otherwise, I may have to pay a 
reader to read some of the stories where Learning ally readers 
are low quality or in situations where I need to see the spelling 
and quotes in the story.

What ideas do you have for these issues.

1.  The class is asked to bring their texts and reference  
passages for discussion.
So far, the prof or a student reads the quotes to me.  But I am 
at a disadvantage not seeing the quotes in their context.  Other 
students can read further past the quote or skim the page to 
refresh their memory where the passage came from.

Do you bring  an accessible copy of the book to class? for 
instance, a brf file or text file on your braille notetaker.

2.  We have to write about the readings either a reading journal 
response or discussion board.
After writing them, how has your professor given you feedback?
Do you ask for it electronically so you can read his/her 
In the past, I’ve handed in homework and professors wrote it by 
hand like everyone else; they would go over it with me if I asked 
or I just asked my reader to read it over.
But, since the prof does it electronically via blackboard, maybe, 
he could write the feedback in the paper.

3.  For the discussion boards, is that accessible? I use jaws 15.
If you had issues, what were they? They use blackboard and we 
have to not only have to write a new post but also  comment on 
them as well, and I don’t know if I will be able to comment on 
them.  I know I could not years ago in an english class.

4.  How do you work quotes into your reading responses or essays?
Doing this auditorily is harder and I hope I can get this book in 
text soon.

The only way I can think of  is to copy it carefully verbatum on 
my braille note first as I’m reading.
I cannot go back like everyone else and skim for quotes and then 
pick what I want to.  I’ll have to think about it as I read and 
copy it down as I listen.
Is it okay to start a paragraph with the quote or should I 
explain it and then quote it?

5.  Our responses have to be a certain word count or more.  I use 
word 2010.  How do I find the word count?

Also when  using handouts in class for activities, how  do you 
access them? Just use another student as a reader? That’s what 
I’ve usually done.
I was considering trying to get handouts ahead of time, but I 
don’t think the professor preps too far in advance.


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