Literature Survey of How Students with Visual Impairments Interact with Engineering Course Materials

Published American Society for Engineering Education, 2023


Dr. Adrian Rodriguez
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Lauren Fogg
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Dr. Alicia Clark
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Jennifer L. Welter

Dr. Gergely Sirokman
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Dr. Ryan Barlow
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There has been an increase in overall accessibility (a11y) for students with blind/visual impairments (BVI) at colleges and universities across the country. However, there is a lack of details in content that is made accessible, which can help inform accessibility compliance guidelines for specialized areas of study. While the general a11y guidelines are helpful for many students at a baseline, creating accessible content in many engineering disciplines is difficult and a desire still exists to do more to support students with BVI. Ideally, accessible content should help a student learn the material so that the student can use those skills in other courses or in the workforce. However, it is entirely possible that accessible content can pass the minimum requirements to be compliant with ADA requirements, but remain non-functional for effective student learning. The current paper outlines what barriers exist for students with BVI in engineering despite baseline accessibility compliance and performs a short literature review of the current assistive technologies that exist to overcome these barriers. The paper discusses some conclusions and possible future steps towards specialized guidelines for engineering course materials that are better suited for the discipline as a whole.

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