[Athen] Engineering and Computer Science Resources for visually impaired

Timothy Breitenfeldt timothyjb310 at gmail.com
Wed May 17 09:04:34 PDT 2017

Hi Corrine, I am a blind student getting my bachelors in computer
science. I can give you some advice based on my own personal
experience as a screen reader user.

Math, will probably be among the most challenging courses that the
student has to take, as you seem to address. The best suggestion I
could give to that student in my experience is learn LaTeX. It is
hardly the solution to everything, but it can save you a lot of time
if the student knows LaTeX. I am kicking myself because I didn't start
learning it soon enough. A lot of teachers will write their
assignments in LaTeX and save it to a PDF. It is possible to save
LaTeX as Math ML if you download the write programs. Although, Math ML
is not editable, so the student could not copy the expression easily,
or make changes to it. Depending on how much vision this student has,
braille in my oppinion, is just usually better to learn math, reading
math on the computer with a screen reader is challenging and time
consuming, especially when the expressions are long, and graphics
cause their own problems if you are not using braille. It can be done
though. I personally have written all of my assignments in Microsoft
word for all of my math classes in college. It is not fun, and
sometimes you have to get creative on how to represent certain things,
but I made it work. ASKII math is the standard for this, and may help
in how to represent certain things.

As far as resources for computer science, once the student starts
taking programming classes, there will be a couple challenges, but
most can be avoided if the student just learns how to compile and run
code in the command line. Development environments, are more often
than not accessible, so especially at the beginning, I recommend
sticking with basic text editors, such as notepad for windows, or text
edit for mac. There are better text editors that are designed for
programming that work with screen readers pretty well, such as
notepad++ or ED sharp. ED sharp is what i use, but it is hard to find
it on the internet now, because the developer doesn't seem to maintain
it any more, but it was built for working with screen readers. The
only commonly used development environment that I know of that is
accessible is Eclipse.

I hope some of this was helpful,

TJ Breitenfeldt

On 5/16/17, Corrine Schoeb <kschoeb1 at swarthmore.edu> wrote:

> A new student who has a visual impairment (my very preliminary

> understanding is visual tracking issues) will be joining our student body

> next semester. This student is interested in engineering and computer

> science.


> Are there particular tools or techniques I should become familiar with?

> Are they any particularly good resources you've found for visually impaired

> students studying engineering and computer science? Is MathML a better

> tool than LaTex? Are there especially good sites or guidelines for faculty

> to use when creating assignments?


> On a different note - I ran across this and wonder if it is still pertinent

> as it was last update in 2008:

> http://ncam.wgbh.org/experience_learn/educational_media/stemdx






> --


> Corrine Schoeb

> Technology Accessibility Coordinator, ITS

> 610-957-6208


> *** Swarthmore College ITS will never ask you for your password, including

> by email. Please keep your passwords private to protect yourself and the

> security of our network.


> To learn more about web security visit

> http://www.swarthmore.edu/its/security


More information about the athen-list mailing list