Accessibility in Math/STEM


Jess Thompson from the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) hosted a Webinar in February 2018 on Accessibility in Math/STEM.  This article provides the webinar recording and many resources to Math/STEM accessibility.

Accessibility in Math/STEM Webinar Recording

 Outline and Resources

  • Overview of STEM Accessibility – I strongly recommend this short video by Krista Greear from UW: STEM Accessibility

  • LaTeX vs MathML – most STEM faculty are familiar with LaTeX. LaTeX, however, is not often compatible with assistive technology. To be accessible, it need to be converted to MathML.
  • MathTypeis a program that will all content creators to create/convert equations into MathML. End users can then use text to speech software, or MathPlayer (a free download) to access the content.
    • For a demo check out the audio clips and resources in the Math/STEM Accessibility lesson from Accessibility 101.
    • MathType can used by faculty to affordably create accessible content from the start. It can also convert existing material into MathML.
      • An educational license is $57 from Design Science.
  • Tactile Graphics allow users to have a 3D representation of charts and graphics. While some tactile graphics may require high tech equipment, like a 3D printer or embosser, some can be created by faculty with relatively low tech materials.
  • Closing advice: Creating accessible STEM content is more complex than standard text based content. Keeping accessibility in mind from the start can help ensure you are able to meet your students’ needs in a timely manner. If using complex graphics, work closely with your DSS office to ensure they have materials in advance in order to support you in what ways they can. Be mindful that creating tactile graphics takes time. Keep the principles of accessibility and universal design in mind and be prepared to offer alternative formats where you can (many students will benefit from multiple representations – try using some of the low cost materials to have students create tactile graphics that you may be able to use in the future).
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  • 13-Mar-2018