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media:Fw: Software offers vision-impaired access to MSU online courses

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2003 09:27:41 -0500
Message-ID: <003001c3a084$4f520b50$6401a8c0@handsontech>
To: "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Gee, I kind of like irc.

Software offers vision-impaired access to MSU online courses

University Relations
News Bureau (662) 325-3442
Contact: Maridith Geuder
Oct. 24, 2003

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Voice-conferencing software recently purchased by
Mississippi State is allowing university students with vision impairments
to participate in online learning opportunities.

Enabling students to hear their instructors and classroom peers via
online
chat rooms, iVocalize was acquired by MSU's Division of Continuing
Education in collaboration with the on-campus Rehabilitation Research and
Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.

The new online environment, which the division has named "iDeclare," is
helping allay a fear that the traditional classroom becomes lost in
Internet courses, said Laura Crittenden, manager of credit studies.

"With the advent of voice technology, instructors and students will have
one more tool to help them develop more nurturing and positive
relationships with each other," she said. Instructions for online access
are available at
http://www.distance.msstate.edu/ideclare,
she added.

Frank Puckett, a faculty member using the software this semester,
describes
it as "very accommodating to people with visual disabilities." An
associate
clinical professor in the department of counselor education, educational
psychology and social work, he works with the RRTC.

"I'm using it frequently for conferencing with the American Foundation
for
the Blind," Puckett said.

Teaching online courses exclusively, Puckett uses iVocalize in a course
on
the medical aspects of disability. "The software promotes class
discussion
and enhances review of the material," he said.

To use iVocalize software, instructors and students must have a Windows
Media Player 9 and a microphone. The equipment also enables students who
miss a chat session to record it for later review or re-visit chat
sessions
for study purposes.

Providing technical assistance in the new effort are Franklin Johnson,
RRTC
access technology specialist, and Jason Crittenden, technical assistant
for
the continuing education division.

For more information about the iVocalize software or about distance
learning at MSU, telephone Crittenden at (662) 325-2677.
Received on Saturday, 1 November 2003 09:27:43 GMT

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