Providing Learning Support for Blind and Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities




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http://www.glos.ac.uk/gdn/disabil/blind/index.htm

http://www.glos.ac.uk/gdn/



Providing Learning Support for Blind and Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Ifan Shepherd

Middlesex University

Series edited by Phil Gravestock and Mick Healey

University of Gloucestershire

This work was undertaken as part of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s ‘Improving Provision for Disabled Students Funding Programme’.






© Geography Discipline Network / Authors 2001

Published by:

Geography Discipline Network (GDN)

Geography & Environmental Management Research Unit (GEMRU)

University of Gloucestershire

Francis Close Hall

Swindon Road

Cheltenham

Gloucestershire, UK

GL50 4AZ

Providing Learning Support for Blind and Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

ISBN: 1 86174 115 4

ISBN (full series): 1 86174 119 7

The content of this guide has been developed in good faith, but the authors and their institutions cannot be held responsible for actions which readers may take in response to the advice contained herein.

Providing Learning Support for Blind and Visually impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Ifan Shepherd


Table of Contents

About the Author 5

Ifan Shepherd (Middlesex University) 5

Editors' Preface 6

1 Introduction to this Guide 8

1.1 General introduction 8

1.1.1 The significance of vision 8

1.1.2 The significance of fieldwork 8

1.1.3 Aims of this guide 9

1.1.4 Towards a student-centred approach 9

1.2 Who this guide is for 10

2 Geography, Fieldwork and the Visual 11

2.0.1 Vision and geography 11

2.0.2 Vision, fieldwork and visual disability 11

2.0.3 Overcoming barriers – lessons from elsewhere 12

2.1 The nature of visual impairment 12

2.2 What is visual impairment? 13

2.2.1 Born versus acquired impairment/blindness 13

2.2.2 Temporary versus permanent visual impairment 14

2.2.3 Categories of visual impairment 14

2.3 Visual impairment statistics 15

2.3.1 The population at large 15

2.3.2 Student populations 15

2.4 Visual impairment impacts on fieldwork 16

2.4.1 Fieldwork difficulties due to visual impairment 17

2.4.2 On the positive side 17

3 Approaches to Visual 'Disability' 18

3.1 The mutual adjustment model 19

3.1.1 Flexibility the keyword 20

3.2 General etiquette 21

4 How to Prepare Yourself and Your Colleagues 22

4.1 Increasing awareness – staff development 22

4.1.1 Why raise awareness? 22

4.1.2 Content and approach 22

4.1.3 Some issues for discussion 22

4.1.4 Students as well as staff 24

4.2 Educational entitlements and requirements 24

4.2.1 Relevant legislation 24

4.2.2 Policy within higher education 25

4.2.3 Issues for the future 25

4.3 Getting help – support networks 26

4.3.1 No tutor is an island 26

4.3.2 Institutional support 26

4.3.3 Action point 27

5 How to Prepare Your Students 28

5.1 Student funding and allowances 28

5.1.1 Question for investigation 28

5.2 Equipment ownership and provision 28

5.3 Awareness raising for all students 29

5.3.1 Purpose 29

5.3.2 Content 29

5.3.3 Approach 29

5.3.4 Awareness raising among visually impaired students 30

6 The Available Options 31

6.1 Field study strategies 31

6.1.1 Generic approaches 31

6.1.2 Strategies in practice 34

6.2 General resources and assistance 34

6.3 Assistive technologies 35

6.3.1 Understanding assistive technologies 35

6.3.2 Sensory substitution technologies 36

6.3.3 Electronic travel aids and personal navigation assistants 38

6.3.4 Multi-sensory software development tools 39

6.4 Sonic maps 39

6.5 Individual and group work 39

7 Student Recruitment 41

7.1 Student expectations and recruitment 41

7.1.1 Student perceptions and the recruitment challenge 41

7.1.2 The department that likes to say 'yes'! 41

7.1.3 Honesty the best policy 41

7.1.4 Recruitment – a joint responsibility 42

7.1.5 From recruitment to enrolment 43

7.2 Learning from recruitment 43

8 Designing and Implementing the Fieldwork Curriculum 44

8.0.1 Strategies and approaches 44

8.1 Defining fieldcourse objectives and study activities 44

8.1.1 Learning objectives 45

8.1.2 Fieldcourse activities 45

8.2 Selecting fieldcourse study areas 46

8.3 Selecting fieldcourse accommodation 46

8.4 Undertaking an audit of fieldcourse venues 47

8.5 Fieldwork assessment 48

8.5.1 Action points 49

9 Preparations 50

9.0.1 Action checklist 50

9.0.2 Team work 51

9.1 Note taking skills 51

9.1.1 Note taking on campus 51

9.1.2 Note taking in the field 52

9.2 Lectures and laboratories 52

9.3 Handouts 53

9.4 Maps and other graphics 54

9.4.1 Redesigning conventional maps 54

9.4.2 Creating non-visual maps 55

9.4.3 Research and development issues 55

9.5 Video and multimedia 56

9.5.1 Multimedia program adaptations 56

9.6 Web materials 56

9.6.1 Accessibility and accessible design 57

9.6.2 Visual acuity 58

9.6.3 Colour blindness 59

9.6.4 Web accessibility guidelines 59

9.6.5 Web site testing services 60

9.7 Using popular computer applications 60

9.7.1 Commercial software and visual impairment accessibility 60

9.7.2 Improving the experience of using applications software 61

9.8 Staff and student buddies 63

9.8.1 Benefits of buddies 63

9.8.2 Selecting buddies 63

10 Travel 64

10.1 Mobility aids 64

11 Field Activities 65

11.0.1 Social dynamics 65

11.0.2 'Look-see' visits 65

11.0.3 Guest lectures 66

11.1 Getting around 66

11.1.1 Some practical issues 66

11.2 Guide dogs 67

11.2.1 Guide dog etiquette 67

11.3 Data collection and recording 68

11.3.1 Field investigation 68

11.3.2 Evening follow-up work 69

12 Follow-up Work 70

12.0.1 Data collation 70

12.0.2 Data analysis and interpretation 70

12.0.3 Assessment requirements 70

12.0.4 Evaluating the fieldcourse 71

13 Graduation and Beyond 72

14 A Generic Approach to Teaching and Learning? 73

14.0.1 From special case to general practice 73

15 Resources 75

15.1 Internet resources 75

15.2 Web links 76

15.3 Other resources 76

16 References and Further Reading 77

16.1 Further reading 81

17 Acknowledgements 82
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