Providing Learning Support for Blind or Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities
Learning from recruitment
The recruitment process presents an ideal opportunity for learning from blind and visually impaired students whether there is likely to be any potential conflict between their impairment and the subject they are intending to study, and the study methods adopted on your courses. Whether you interact with them at open days, campus visits, formal interview or some form of correspondence, use these channels of communication to reappraise your fieldcourse offerings. Invite the students to compare your facilities and approaches to study with those they have experienced in the past. How do you match up? How could you improve what you do?
These interactions could be used as the basis for re-thinking the study requirements of your courses. To facilitate this process, the Teachability project at Strathclyde University (Shaw, 2000) suggests the following questions (these have been adapted for the purposes of this guide):
- How accessible is the curriculum for students with a visual impairment?
- How might the curriculum be made more accessible for students with a visual impairment?
- What steps would need to be taken to implement the ways identified to enhance access to the curriculum?
- What barriers are there to achieving the changes you have identified and what can be done about them?
- How can the ways in which the curriculum is particularly accessible or inaccessible be made known to potential students with a visual impairment?
- What information do you think potential students for your programme would need to have to make an informed decision about whether they could undertake the programme?
- Is there anything you could add (or change) to help potential students, including those with impairments, to take a more informed view about whether they could and would want to undertake your programme?
- Do you give potential students a named contact in the department if they remain in doubt about whether they could undertake your programme?
- How could you make information about your programme(s) more easily available to potential students, some of whom have impairments?
Several of these issues are discussed from another perspective in the companion document: Student Expectations and Recruitment.)
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 115 4