[Athen] Adding recording functionality for visually impaired students

Adam Lipkin alipkin at brandeis.edu
Wed Jan 27 06:00:03 PST 2016

Hi, folks --

I'm looking for some guidance based on a request from our school's distance
learning program:

They have a visually impaired distance learning student, and the school has
asked that we accommodate them by adding the ability for the student to
record her responses via audio on the discussion boards in Moodle.

I've got a few concerns about this as a reasonable accommodation, but want
to make sure that I'm treating this fairly.

First. the discussion boards in Moodle use a standard text interface, so if
the students is already able to enter text, they should be able to do so
here. Has anyone heard of situations in which text entry for visually
impaired students has been an issue (particularly in DL courses), and if
audio was the accommodation?

Second, adding new functionality to Moodle is not a simple or easy thing,
and requires a reasonable large amount of time and resources to test and
ensure that the features don't break other elements (it's not impossible,
but since all courses here use the system, adding or changing new
functionality mid-semester affects the entire campus). So asking us to do
it mid-semester isn't a "reasonable" accommodation unless there's a
demonstrated burden.

I've also asked if just using a recording tool locally and uploading the
MP3 file to the forum would work, but they seem reluctant.

Have you heard of any situation similar to this? Anyone have any good
advice or guidance (or examples of how this has been dealt with elsewhere)



Adam Lipkin
Associate Director for Academic Technology
alipkin at brandeis.edu
Brandeis University Library and Technology Services
Mailstop 045
Waltham, MA 02454
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