Robyn Martin, Instructor of Business Management, Henry W. Bloch School of Business
In 2009, I started teaching at UMKC, my alma mater. The topic that I teach to students surrounds technology. I love working in technology and sharing my knowledge of technology with our students. While I always tell my students that no one person know everything about technology, sometimes you get caught unaware that you do not know something very important in your field. One of my students were taught me a very important lesson about technology and how it affects students with an impairment.
While I was aware of students that had impairments, I had not had a student attend one of my classes that had a severe visual impairment. I did not realize the challenges that our students were facing until I had the opportunity to teach a student that was visually impaired. This student had to use both an accessible screen viewer and a monocular device to enhance an already enlarged screen.
Because I was teaching a hands-on computer class, I noticed there were additional challenges for this student. In the hands-on class that I team, the students refer to the textbook and work on the computer at the same time. Because this classroom has only one monitor per computer I noticed how much time it was taking the student to look at the book and then find the correct place on the screen. When she found her place on the computer to enter the formula or data, I had moved on to the next topic.
Initially I suggested that the student see the course tutor. My thought was that seeing the Tutor would help the student keep up with the class. I found out that Lab the tutor was in did not have an accessible workstation. When the tech support team found out, they immediately made one of the workstations accessible.
At the time, I thought I had done everything that I could to help the student. I didn’t realize that there was more that I could be doing. \That was, until I took the course: Faculty Online Teaching Certification. One of the requirements were to do was ensure that all of the documentation that we created was accessible for visually and hearing impaired students. At that moment, I realized that none of my documents was accessible to students with an impairment. That was when I started modifying documents for both the online courses that I am setting up and my on campus documents. I know this will take time to get this completed; however, it is now one of my top priorities.