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Request for Assistance with Spanish 101 Course from an Accessibility Perspective

January 23, 2009 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I am taking a Spanish 101 course in order to begin meeting the foreign language requirement for the journalism major at ASU. Unfortunately, the course seems to contain inaccessible, yet crucial, elements:

  • Most of the lab exercises presented on Blackboard must be completed by dragging and dropping the mouse, rely on pictures or seem to present other, unknown inaccessible elements.
  • Many of the practice elements for the Dos Mundos book companion web site are also similarly inaccessible.
  • The textbook relies on pictures more than on direct English to Spanish translation.

I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully taken a Spanish class as a blind student in the recent past using interactive technology. Which aspects of the technology could be made more accessible and how was it accomplished? When the book and interactive exercises could not be made directly accessible, what other reasonable accommodations were made and how successfully did they work for you? All ideas are appreciated as soon as possible, and I thank any of you in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide.

Categories: accessibility

4 opinions on “Request for Assistance with Spanish 101 Course from an Accessibility Perspective

  1. As a former language major who out-performed most of the others in my classes, I have thought a lot about this. I’ve been distressed to see blind high school students refused admission into foreign language classes because of the teaching methods used. So I have no successful experience with the current methods. Note that for most, the current methods yield better results than older methods with which many of us were more comfortable. But I would, if taking a language class now, forcibly argue that they need to focus on course outcomes. What am I supposed to know at the end of this course? Since the teaching methods are not really facilitating this learning for me, or are even impeding it, the department needs to provide other criteria and other methods. There are lots of ways to achieve what students achieve in first-year Spanish courses, and hopefully they will be creative about it

  2. If possible obtaining the textbook in braille with properly described captions for the pictures would go a long way. As far as the images on blackboard, have you asked to have the pictures describe with an alt tag,? Then you could at least write out the matching for the professor to hand grade.

  3. I took spanish 1 in blind school and passed with a “B”. in college, I took the same Spanish 101 course for the college degree requirement, and in the end, I failed this course.

    I had same issues that you are facing right now. Almost every lesson was based on images, and all of the classroom lectures were in spanish. More over, the disability personnel were not able to help me because they did not speak spanish. The text book for this course was not available in audio, braille, or in electronic format. I had to scan the text book in Openbook, but with all of those pictures, I was not able to read a single complete paragraph.

    Sorry if I discouraged you, but these are the facts. However, I am planning to take this course once more, but this time I will take this course online, and higher a tutor to read and describe the textbook, and help me with visual assignments. I hope this works out well. Please let me know if you have better idea.

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