COIL is proud to support the Providing Touchable Knowledge Structure Graphic Feedback for Blind Online Learners: Tablet-Based Haptic Feedback and Paper-Based Tactile Feedback project through our Research Initiation Grant Program.
On-going assistive technology research has yielded a number of promising techniques to help blind learners’ access online learning content, but little has been done to promote their reading comprehension and writing skills although reading, writing, and learning are closely related. This project aims to extend the accessibility of our COIL-funded online text visualization software tool, called ALA-Reader, to blind learners. The ALA-Reader system automatically converts online students’ writings (on assigned readings) into network graphs, which are hypothesized to represent the most salient “knowledge structure (KS)” related to that content. Based on our empirical evidence carried out in various kinds of learning environments, this approach is a useful and usable way to capture and visually represent the content KS of learners, a visual and concise snapshot of the degree to which the learners have organized and comprehended the content. Thus, this project focuses on helping blind online learners access and explore the visually represented KS graphs. For that, we will integrate the ALA-Reader algorithm with a Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) language that together automatically convert viewable KS graphs to touchable KS graphs so that the blind can haptically (vibratory) feel their current KS derived from their writing on the touchscreen or tactually on swell touch paper.
Learning, Design, and Technology
College of Education