Hello,

Unless you still received an A in the class, did you challenge the grade she gave you since you had proof that her grading of your paper was inappropriately biased? Most people do not challenge inappropriate grading, but every university has a policy in place to deal with such.

When it comes to disabilities, the inappropriate grade is most often given by a teacher who does not believe the student with disabilities can do the same work, so the instructor grades the paper with more severity than they grade the rest of the papers. When I worked as a rehab counselor in a university's disabled students office, we would have another professor in the same department grade the student's paper and another paper written for the class. There would be no identifying information on either paper. If the department colleague gave a better grade for the disabled student's paper, or if the disabled student's paper was given a similar grade to the sample paper, we would then take everything to the department chair, or higher if the department chair happened to be the instructor who was showing the bias, and the instructor would then be required to defend their grading. The few times I did this, the instructors always backed down since we were able to prove that they were in the wrong, and if they did not admit their error, the next step would be an instructor's peer review board.

Different universities have different procedures, but they all have something similar in place.

David Chittenden, MS, CRC, MRCAA


Thomas Ward wrote:
Hi Dark,

Unfortunately, it is pretty much like anything else. It all comes down to how it is marketed to the masses. Unfortunately, the blind don't have some central goto source for things like screen readers and accessible games and they hear about them via word of mouth or through agencies that have their pet product to give you.

For example, take a game like Termite Torpedo. You and I might agree it probably isn't the best accessible game ever made, but it happens to be produced by American Printing House who is well known by state agencies, schools for the blind, whatever. As a result a while back when I was talking to BSVI and mentioned that I was working on my own accessible games the first thing out of their mouth was, you mean a game like Termite Torpedo?"

The bottom line here is most of those people knew nothing about Audyssey or most of the games that are out here for the blind. The only reason they knew about Termite Torpedo is because it happens to be in their catalogs, and it is made by a well known organization in the first place. As a result that game, which is so so as far as accessible games goes, has a chance of reaching a wider audience just because it is sold by someone of some repute and renown in the blind community.

The same problem happens to developers of screen readers and other accessible products. Some companies have an automatic in, and it is hard to change the system because colleges and government agencies have been stuck in that mold. They have designed their entire program around certain products and have no desire to change.

When I was at Wright State they offered a special class for both blind and sighted students geared toward accessibility software as an elective. Since I needed the credits and it looked like an easy class to ace I took it. As it turned out the woman who taught the class claimed to be an expert on accessibility software for the blind, but actually was nothing of the sort. As it turned out I knew more than she did on a variety of topics.

Anyway, that entire class was based on Freedom Scientific products such as Jaws, Magic, and Openbook. Nothing was said about competing products like K1000, Window-Eyes, Hal, Zoomtext, or anything else that should have been mentioned or covered in that class. The final project for the class was to write a business proposal to be presented to a company or state agency requesting a computer loaded with accessible software, and explain why.

Well, for my proposal I set out to write my paper on access software I happened to use and know well such as Window-Eyes as my screen reader, Omnipage Pro for OCR, and Zoomtext for screen enlargement. I did so for two reasons. First, I wanted the instructer to realise there is software out there besides what she covered in class, and maybe by reading my paper she might learn something new. Second, I personally used the software I wrote about, and liked the products better in many cases than the software that was covered in class. Third, in some cases like Omnipage Pro was much cheaper than Openbook, worked well enough for my uses, and I would be saving the agency or company lots of mony on that sale alone. So you want to know what happened?

Well, the instructer took several points off my grade simply because I didn't use any of the products covered in class, and it clearly was a case of I was suppose to parot back everything I heard in class in my proposal. As that hadn't been specified by the instructer I naturally took some issue over that, but I honestly don't think she knew how to grade the ppaper objectively. She admited as much in her office she wasn't familiar with Omnipage Pro, Window-Eyes, etc so couldn't evaluate them so knocked points off.

However, I think this proves a very important point about how products like Jaws gets an almost legendary following in the United States. It is simply that colleges, state agencies, schools for the blind, and any other large institution has adopted Jaws early on, and it is almost impossible to convince them to maybe take a closer look at Hal, Window-Eyes, or System Access. Even if you can convince someone within that institution, such as a university, to take a closer look at alternative products there is no garentee their superiors will agree to fit the bill for a completely new product. They'd rather stick with what they have regardless of if it is better or worse than the alternatives.

dark wrote:
Interesting Tom.

I admit, i know very litle about window eyes at all, ---- in fact I didn't even know it existed until about 3 years ago. i suspect this is for the same reason that many people in the Us do not know about Hal.

I wasn't sure about window eyes and games, ---- though as so much audio games documentation reads "turn off your screen reader" rather than "turn off Jaws" I'd vaguely assumed that window eyes had the same trouble.

Nice to know it doesn't, ---- but what you say about freedom scientific is sad indeed, ---- especially from someone who can phone up dolphin and get "oh hello, ---- how's your brother?" ---- though i admit having dealt with dolphin for the past eleven years, ---- and indeed used dolphin software provided by school for six years before that, I'm probably in a slightly more unique position than some.

Stil, I'm disturbed that an access tech company could be so irritating.

When I report a bug to dolphin, ---- or ask about Hal's compatibility with a given program, they're usually good about giving me an answer.

Beware the grue!

Dark.

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