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Classroom Resources for Instructors and DeafBlind Students

 

TECHNOLOGY/EQUIPMENT

If there is a DeafBlind student with approved DSA adjustments for equipment in a classroom, at NTID, Susan Ackerman, Director of Disability Services Office, will contact Mike Burns, Manager, Client & Technical Services. Mike will contact the NTID Service desk to set up equipment in the NTID classrooms. If an instructor has questions or issues regarding the technology, the instructor can go to the NTID Service Desk for assistance.

Low-vision LCD monitors are placed in NTID classrooms. These monitors can be connected to the teacher’s desk where students are able to view lectures or demonstrations. Most of the NTID classrooms/labs are pre-wired so low-vision monitors can be installed as needed. To find out which spaces already have a low-vision monitor or to request an installation, contact the NTID Service Desk.

Disability Services Office
Susan Ackerman: smacst@rit.edu
Disability Services Director
585-475-6988 / Fax: 585-475-2215

NTID Service Desk
Contact information is as follows:
Building LBJ- Room 2525
Phone- 585-475-2200 (voice) VP- 585-286-4591
Email- NTIDServiceDesk@ntid.rit.edu

If students are asking for adjustments but do not have a DSA, refer them to the Disability Services Office or to their counselor/academic advisor for more information.

General Information/Strategies/Tips for Instructors In the Classroom:
Adjustments must be made according to the Office of Disability Services Agreement (DSA). Instructors and students can discuss and implement adjustments regarding teaching and materials to make them accessible. 

In addition to the DSA agreement, there are strategies and tips that may be helpful in classroom:

Printed Materials:
If a student’s DSA requires you to provide materials that is in a larger copy format or increased font, then:

  • Use the copier settings to increase percentage to make it easier for your student(s) to read.
  • If you are printing materials from MS Word—you can increase the font size to at least 14 to 16 points.

PPT slides—increase size for easy viewing while student is sitting in the audience (or provide a copy of your slides ahead of time, with your notes with increased size in the NOTES pane).

  • You can request assistance from the RIT Disability Services Office:
  • Shelley Zoeke (slzdso@rit.edu)
  • Please give as much advance notice as possible when requesting the above assistance.

The Disability Services Office (DSO) does not print textbooks in enlarged font. DSO provides books in PDF format, so that students can use them on a computer and view in whatever font size/type is needed.

If there is an e-book, students do not have to do anything since the book is already digital and they can use it on an e-reader or computer, and can increase the font size (or listen to the text being read) as needed.

If there is no e-book available, students can purchase the textbook. DSO will then contact the publisher to obtain the text in digital (PDF) format. Publishers are using a single source that DSO can access and if the book is available there, then it is often ready for students in a few hours. Some publishers are not using that resource, so it could take up to a few weeks. If students need it faster than DSO can get it (or if the publisher does not have a digital copy available), then DSO can take the student's book, cut off the binding, and scan it to create a PDF in the DSO office.

During Lectures:
Point on whiteboard to help student to follow your writings on the board. Use dark color markers for contrast. Red and green markers are not recommended (see Dos and Don’ts While Teaching below for additional tips).

If demonstrating from your computer, take the time to point to functions or settings so your student can see and follow along if possible.

Students Using Computer/Mouse:
If the students has trouble finding the mouse pointer—he/she can move the mouse manually to the left upper corner and drag down to the right a few times to help to see where the pointer is, and when he/she does, he/she can click on wherever they need to.

In the browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome), enlarge the size using (ctrl and +)

Space/Room Safety:
Consider safety around his/her work station or area he/she is sitting—point outlying wires, things on floor (plug boxes, cable boxes that are stuck sitting upwards, etc.), and furniture within the classroom. For safety issues, contact Chris Knigga at cmknfs@rit.edu.

Dos and Don’ts While Teaching:

Do:

Do use black, dark-blue, or purple markers to write on the whiteboard. Write legibly in fairly large enough letters for easy reading.



Do write descriptions for images on your PPT slides in the NOTES section (DB students can read and get the idea of your presentation).



Do email the PPT slides or notes to your DB students ahead of time so they can review and be able to expect what will be presented before coming to the class.



Do keep in touch with your DB students periodically to make sure that they are OK with your presentations and ask for tips if needed. Encourage them to see you 1:1 if they need further clarification. Be clear that even though you are willing to accommodate their needs, they are still responsible for keeping up with their assignments and deadlines.



Do allow students to take breaks (if acceptable)

Do talk to students in private to cover what the student needs for class… always be prepared to adjust during the semester. Students are learning what kind of accommodations that they need and may not know what works for them until later.

Do share specific accommodations that work in the past, but DO NOT try to convince student to follow the same path. No one has the exact same vision loss.

Do admit if you don’t know what to do and be willing to work with students. Don’t go “oops” and continue to make the same mistakes throughout the semester. They pay for quality services, they expect you to deliver.

Do treat DeafBlind students the same as everyone in class… they want to be acknowledged as the same as everyone else not someone who need special treatment.

Do let DeafBlind students know if you notice something about their hygiene, clothing, or behavior. As abled bodied people we have the privilege of being able to see ourselves or notice things quickly. Be gentle about it. For example, “I love your shirt today; it looks like you got a stain on the lower right side of your shirt from breakfast or lunch.”

Don’t:

Don’t write on the whiteboard while the LCD is on with power point slides. It is harder for DB students to see the information clearly. Instead, point to the image(s)/word(s) and give your DB students time to search and rest their eyes on your finger, then travel back to your face so you can continue to present.



Don’t use GIF images on your presentations—the images can be distracting and bothersome to DB students’ eyes.



Don’t use red or green markers while writing on the whiteboard. Use them sparingly, if needed.

Additional Support:
If you are an instructor looking for additional support and would like to talk with another instructor to discuss classroom strategies, feel free to contact either one of the instructors listed below. Keep in mind, these instructors are not experts, but have experience with having DeafBlind students in their classroom, and are happy to assist when possible.

Kathleen Szczepanek (ksgnvd@rit.edu)
Instructional/Support Faculty
Business Studies
60-2783
VP: 585-286-4670

Keith Mousley (kxmntm@rit.edu)
Instructional/Support Faculty
Science & Mathematics
60-2285
VP: 585-286-4631

It is important to keep the communication lines open between you and the student(s) throughout the semester to ensure their positive learning experiences within your classroom.

NTID Supported Students:
For NTID supported/cross registered students, when students need an academic adjustment, they need to contact Susan Ackerman, Director of Disability Services. If a low vision monitor is needed in the classroom, Sue contacts RIT’s Information and Technology Services (ITS) and they set up the technology and work together with students and instructors to ensure that the technology is mirrored to the low vision monitor correctly.

For additional support, each college has their own disability liaison. Contact Kiersten Blankley (kesnhd@rit.edu) for additional information. The list of liaisons can be found under resources*.

An additional resource is the NTID Vision Support Committee. For questions or more information, contact Laurie Mousley, Chairperson, at lamncd@rit.edu.