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

Ifan Shepherd (Middlesex University) 6

Editors' Preface 8

1 Introduction to this Guide 10

1.1 General introduction 10

1.1.1 The significance of vision 10

1.1.2 The significance of fieldwork 10

1.1.3 Aims of this guide 11

1.1.4 Towards a student-centred approach 11

1.2 Who this guide is for 12

2 Geography, Fieldwork and the Visual 13

2.0.1 Vision and geography 13

2.0.2 Vision, fieldwork and visual disability 13

2.0.3 Overcoming barriers – lessons from elsewhere 14

2.1 The nature of visual impairment 14

2.2 What is visual impairment? 15

2.2.1 Born versus acquired impairment/blindness 15

2.2.2 Temporary versus permanent visual impairment 16

2.2.3 Categories of visual impairment 16

2.3 Visual impairment statistics 17

2.3.1 The population at large 17

2.3.2 Student populations 17

2.4 Visual impairment impacts on fieldwork 18

2.4.1 Fieldwork difficulties due to visual impairment 19

2.4.2 On the positive side 19

3 Approaches to Visual 'Disability' 20

3.1 The mutual adjustment model 21

3.1.1 Flexibility the keyword 22

3.2 General etiquette 23

4 How to Prepare Yourself and Your Colleagues 24

4.1 Increasing awareness – staff development 24

4.1.1 Why raise awareness? 24

4.1.2 Content and approach 24

4.1.3 Some issues for discussion 24

4.1.4 Students as well as staff 26

4.2 Educational entitlements and requirements 26

4.2.1 Relevant legislation 26

4.2.2 Policy within higher education 27

4.2.3 Issues for the future 27

4.3 Getting help – support networks 28

4.3.1 No tutor is an island 28

4.3.2 Institutional support 28

4.3.3 Action point 29

5 How to Prepare Your Students 30

5.1 Student funding and allowances 30

5.1.1 Question for investigation 30

5.2 Equipment ownership and provision 30

5.3 Awareness raising for all students 31

5.3.1 Purpose 31

5.3.2 Content 31

5.3.3 Approach 32

5.3.4 Awareness raising among visually impaired students 32

6 The Available Options 33

6.1 Field study strategies 33

6.1.1 Generic approaches 33

6.1.2 Strategies in practice 36

6.2 General resources and assistance 36

6.3 Assistive technologies 37

6.3.1 Understanding assistive technologies 37

6.3.2 Sensory substitution technologies 38

6.3.3 Electronic travel aids and personal navigation assistants 40

6.3.4 Multi-sensory software development tools 41

6.4 Sonic maps 41

6.5 Individual and group work 41

7 Student Recruitment 43

7.1 Student expectations and recruitment 43

7.1.1 Student perceptions and the recruitment challenge 43

7.1.2 The department that likes to say 'yes'! 43

7.1.3 Honesty the best policy 43

7.1.4 Recruitment – a joint responsibility 44

7.1.5 From recruitment to enrolment 45

7.2 Learning from recruitment 45

8 Designing and Implementing the Fieldwork Curriculum 46

8.0.1 Strategies and approaches 46

8.1 Defining fieldcourse objectives and study activities 46

8.1.1 Learning objectives 47

8.1.2 Fieldcourse activities 47

8.2 Selecting fieldcourse study areas 48

8.3 Selecting fieldcourse accommodation 48

8.4 Undertaking an audit of fieldcourse venues 49

8.5 Fieldwork assessment 50

8.5.1 Action points 51

9 Preparations 52

9.0.1 Action checklist 52

9.0.2 Team work 53

9.1 Note taking skills 53

9.1.1 Note taking on campus 53

9.1.2 Note taking in the field 53

9.2 Lectures and laboratories 54

9.3 Handouts 55

9.4 Maps and other graphics 56

9.4.1 Redesigning conventional maps 56

9.4.2 Creating non-visual maps 57

9.4.3 Research and development issues 57

9.5 Video and multimedia 58

9.5.1 Multimedia program adaptations 58

9.6 Web materials 58

9.6.1 Accessibility and accessible design 59

9.6.2 Visual acuity 60

9.6.3 Colour blindness 61

9.6.4 Web accessibility guidelines 61

9.6.5 Web site testing services 62

9.7 Using popular computer applications 62

9.7.1 Commercial software and visual impairment accessibility 62

9.7.2 Improving the experience of using applications software 63

9.8 Staff and student buddies 65

9.8.1 Benefits of buddies 65

9.8.2 Selecting buddies 65

10 Travel 66

10.1 Mobility aids 66

11 Field Activities 67

11.0.1 Social dynamics 67

11.0.2 'Look-see' visits 67

11.0.3 Guest lectures 68

11.1 Getting around 68

11.1.1 Some practical issues 68

11.2 Guide dogs 69

11.2.1 Guide dog etiquette 69

11.3 Data collection and recording 70

11.3.1 Field investigation 70

11.3.2 Evening follow-up work 71

12 Follow-up Work 72

12.0.1 Data collation 72

12.0.2 Data analysis and interpretation 72

12.0.3 Assessment requirements 72

12.0.4 Evaluating the fieldcourse 73

13 Graduation and Beyond 74

14 A Generic Approach to Teaching and Learning? 75

14.0.1 From special case to general practice 75

15 Resources 77

15.1 Internet resources 77

15.2 Web links 78

15.3 Other resources 78

16 References and Further Reading 79

16.1 Further reading 83

17 Acknowledgements 84

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