Change to remote learning has been extremely challenging for blind students, with some who still faces unresolved accessibility problems.

The National Federation of Blind and other organizations has warned for months that universities are failing blind students with opposite accommodation and support for those who are legally entitled.

In some cases, the blind students have had such a bad experience with the remote learning that they decided to take time away from their studies instead of continuing online, said Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations in the NFB. This is a relative trend, since research suggests that students who take a break from their education sometimes decide that it is not worth going back.

Many students have reported that the universities of digital class materials provided for remote learning are incompatible with the screen. Readers, said Danielsen. Physical materials, including diagrams, graphics and equations in relief in Braille, graphics and equations, sometimes come too late for the corresponding class.

Working towards digital equity

This article is based on reports made by a new interior ED report, "Digital Division: COVID-19" lessons. The Special Report examines how the digital division and institutions and solutions instructors are being changed can employ to improve digital equity for all students. The report is available for download on this link.

Obtaining course materials accessible in time for the class to have been a recurring problem for Salvador Villa, a student of Kinesiology and Health Education at Austin Community College. While the Accessibility Office of the University is quite fast to convert the worksheets and notes in a format that can read in your screen reader, some of your teachers have been preparing lessons much later than they did before before The pandemic Some teachers send class materials to the accessibility office, only hours before class, which means that the villa does not receive them on time.

"Everything became more than last minute once we went virtual," Villa said. "I have learned that when it comes to getting the materials you need, you have to push. One of my teachers has 700 students, and I know that I am not his priority number 1. I talked to them during office hours and I will send them by email Before and after the class, but when everything is virtual, it is not as if I can appear physically in your office and say: 'Hey, I need you to help with this' ".

While some of her teachers have gone further and beyond to make sure he has everything he needs to succeed, Villa said he does not have a grudge against those who have not helped He knows they have a complete dish at this time. That said, a little more communication would have a long way.

"It would be useful if the teachers could communicate and say: 'Let's chat a bit of how you work," instead of assuming ourselves "call it as we go," he said. "Each blind student has a different way of working, some are more technology experts, and some prefer Braille. It simply depends on what they feel comfortable, what they like and what they know."

Some Students have faced particular challenges that study stem subjects, said Trisha Kulkarni, president of the National Association of Cyclist Students, a Division of the NFB. A computer specialization at Stanford University, Kulkarni is currently living in Ohio and studying complex mathematics remotely. The graphs and equations are much easier to understand when they are relief on physical paper, she said. Unfortunately, she can take weeks so that these materials reach the mail.

Synchronous conferences on videoconferencing platforms have also been difficult to follow, Kulkarni said.

"Zoom and other platforms We have done a lot so that the platform is more accessible from a navigation point, but they have not really addressed how to get visual information from someone's screen, as they are sharing ", she said

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