>I have a blind student in my medieval survey. I just found this out on the first day of class.
He doesn’t read Braille but he has a computer that will read electronic documents aloud to him. I wonder, though, how it handles glosses and footnotes?
We’re using the Broadview Anthology of British Literature and I think they have the entire text available on PDF, in individual units, so I’ve contacted various people I know there (an editor, the sales rep) to find out about getting electronic copies, because our office of accessibility is notoriously slow.
In the meantime, for the next class we’re reading a bunch of short poetry from both the Old and Middle English periods, and every poem but one that I assigned was out there on the intertubes, in the original language and the translation, so I put together a little Word document for him and e-mailed it to him. Apparently he can do e-mail, but I’m wondering how it works in terms of opening attachments. He said he could, but I’m interested in how it works. Is there a program that reads the e-mail for him and then asks, “Would you like to open the attachment?” I’m really curious about this — I think I’ll ask him. He seemed excited on Tuesday to tell me about his cool computer programs.
And next, we’re doing Beowulf, so I told him to get the Seamus Heaney translation in audio format. It’s abridged and it’s not the translation we’re using, but it will do for now, until we get the textbook for him.
But what’s got me most worried is how I teach and what he’ll be missing in terms of that. I use a LOT of visual aids, and I emphasize looking at the manuscripts when they’re available in facsimile. Yes, I’ve been obsessed with sound a lot lately, and I read aloud in class a lot, so that will help. And, of course, medieval “readers” themselves received texts in multiple ways, including being read to, which I think now I’ll emphasize even more this semester. But still, I don’t think everything will translate for him.
Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? And yes, I’ll be calling the office of accessibility today.