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How to adapt educational materials

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How to adapt educational materials

Tips for academic teachers concerning adaptations of teaching materials for courses attended by students with sight disability

  1. Most documents in the PDF format are inaccessible, which is why blind students will appreciate more materials in such formats as .doc, .docx, .txt, .ppt, and .pptx.
  2. Choose a single adaptation format and stick to it. For example, if a task of "matching expressions from two columns" has been laid out in a certain way, each successive task of the same kind should be arranged in the same manner.
  3. If you wish to distinguish a fragment of a text, do not do it by changing only the formatting (e.g. bold print, highlighting etc.). Although it is theoretically possible to check whether a given word was written e.g. in italics or bold print, in practice it is very cumbersome and surely not everybody knows how to do it. Consequently, if you wish to adapt a fragment for a screen reader user, put the fragment in question in parentheses (which are easily red), putting as first information that the words highlighted in the text have been put in parentheses. If they are present in the text already, use square brackets.
  4. Before the number of each task, add the word "Task"/"Exercise" (in the case of texts in languages other than Polish, use its equivalent). It will be then easier to get orientation in the document structure or find a task of interest.
  5. When giving instructions, try not to use such expressions as "circle", "underline", or "match". It is better to say "write a selected letter/word at the end of each expression" or "put the correct answer in brackets".
  6. Replace a space for an answer (dotted line, horizontal line, etc.) with points of ellipsis.
  7. All graphics, excluding ones which play a purely decorative function, should be accompanied by a description or alternative text.
  8. Do not use text justification function but left align the whole text – this is of special importance for partially sighted persons.
  9. Replace Roman digits with Arabic ones, try to expand abbreviations, e.g. write "second" instead of "2nd", and "decibels" instead of "dB".
  10. In a dialogue, write names or "Person A:", "Person B:", etc. before the word spoken. In this way, a blind person will find it easier to grasp who said what.
  11. Bullet points should be replaced by numbers or letters.

These are just some of the rules to follow when preparing materials for persons with sight disability. If you wish to know more, come to a training course in adapting electronic-format educational materials to the needs of persons with sight disability delivered by our staff members. More information on the training course is available here.

An example task – a crossword puzzle before and after adaptation:


Przykładowe zadanie –krzyżówka

Source: Business Result, Elementary, Student's Book; David Grant, John Hughes & Rebecca Turner, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Adaptation:

Ex. 3. Read the definition and write the word that best corresponds with it. The number of letters is given in brackets. This exercise was originally a crossword.

  1. a seat in the middle of the plane (5) - …
  2. you wait here before you board the plane (4) - …
  3. you show your ticket here and get your boarding card (7) - …
  4. your passport is checked here: passport (7) - …
  5. the cheapest type of ticket (7) - …
  6. a long line you wait in (5) - …
  7. you pack your clothes in these (4) - …
  8. the building at the airport you leave from or arrive at (8) - …
  9. your flight is stopped maybe because of bad weather (9) - ...