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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Beck, James [1], Castor, Jay [2].

Teaching Plant Systematics to a class including both visually impaired and sighted students: experiences and recommendations.

In fall 2018 a student who is blind enrolled in my upper-division Plant Systematics course. Although I had prior experience adapting General Biology lecture material for this student, this plants course required modifying a wide range of lecture and lab content. Online queries quickly revealed that essentially no botany instructional materials were available for visually impaired students, so we set out to produce them in-house. The WSU Media Resources Center and I created a workflow for producing accessible versions of the text, powerpoint lectures, and critical figures. Providing accessible versions of lab content and exam questions required a variety of creative approaches. How does one relay what a sighted student sees under a light microscope? How does one provide access to the structure of a flower far too small and delicate to be tactile? How does one explain bootstrapping or incomplete lineage sorting? On an exam, how does one evalute a visually impaired student’s understanding of the Asteraceae capitulum or the land plant phylogeny? With help from the botanical community our WSU team was able to answer these questions and provide a course that was accessible, equivalent, and rigorous for both sighted and visually impaired students. I’ll discuss what worked, what didn’t, and provide recommendations for creating accessible versions of Plant Systematics courses and other Biology content.

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1 - Wichita State University, Biology, 1845 Fairmount, Box 26, Wichita, KS, 67260, United States
2 - Wichita State University, Academic Accommodations and Accessibility, Media Resources Center, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS, 67260, USA

visual impairment
botany education.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: EO1, Education and Outreach I
Location: Tucson C/Starr Pass
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2019
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: EO1003
Abstract ID:208
Candidate for Awards:None

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