Where Is Our Classroom?

by Donna J. Jodhan

As a blind person who has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to take all kinds of courses and complete all kinds of degrees, I have been able to attend classes in person as well as take them online. The question for me as a blind person is this: Where exactly is my classroom? Where would be the best place for me?

Of course, I probably will not be able to give you a definitive answer but instead I’ll give you my thoughts on both settings.

I like attending classes in person because it gives me the chance to meet my fellow students and to interact directly with my professors and instructors. I would normally tape my classes with a digital recorder and then come home to listen and take notes. I would take notes using my computer. I find that if I try to take notes in the classroom using my computer, I soon get confused listening to the voice of my screen reading software along with listening to the voice of my lecturer. It’s funny though that I can take minutes with my computer but not take notes in class.

The challenges of attending classes in person is that I have to keep reminding the professor or instructor to describe or speak whatever is put on the board. In addition, printed handouts are a challenge for me to deal with. These two challenges however are becoming less of a problem for me.

I like attending classes from the comfort of my home; the online way but whereas I don’t have to put up with finding my way there to a physical location, there are the following challenges.

  • I have to ensure that online texts are in a readable format for me; in text, MS word, or HTML format.
  • I have to ensure that I can easily navigate the website where the online course is being given and that I can complete forms independently.
  • I have to ensure that I have easy access to my instructors either via email or via phone.

So where is my classroom? The jury is still out for me.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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