Providing Learning Support for Blind or Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities
Designing and Implementing the Fieldwork Curriculum
Selecting fieldcourse study areas
Fieldcourse study areas are typically chosen for a variety of reasons. Among these are:
- to introduce issues or problems that are strongly or uniquely represented by a particular area
- to provide scope for applying investigative approaches and skills introduced in on-campus classes
- to enable the testing of specific theories
- to provide case study illustration of specific course themes
- to provide exposure to a range of related themes or problems within a relatively limited journey time from a fieldcourse base.
The challenge for staff designing fieldcourses is to add additional selection criteria for assessing the suitability of fieldcourse venues for blind or visually impaired students. Among these criteria might be:
- Travelling difficulties — e.g. are there particular problems in getting to and from the study area?
- Study site accessibility — e.g. how difficult is it likely to be for visually impaired students to get to specific study locations (e.g. using roads and paths) and to move around in the field (e.g. rough terrain)?
- The range of study venues within the area suitable to blind or visually impaired students — e.g. is the bulk of the fieldwork to be undertaken in one or two locations, or are students required to move from one location to another during the fieldcourse? (In terms of learning curves, it is clearly advantageous for visually impaired students to have to cope with a limited number of locations.)
As mentioned elsewhere in this guide, it is important to discuss these issues with the individual students concerned. It might be appropriate to sit down with maps of the intended study locations in order to talk them through likely problems. It might be possible to reduce some of the problems by rescheduling or relocating field study activities.
See the related document on Undertaking an Audit of Fieldcourse Venues.
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 115 4