Assistive Technologies (Further Course)

Target Groups and Required Skills

The target groups of this course are people who have an interest in assistive technologies for people with disabilities. The course does not require any specific skills.

Learning Platform

The Moodle platform at the Johannes Kepler Universität Linz.

Course duration and efforts

The course will be a five-week self-paced course. Students will be expected to spend 3 hours per week on reading & watching the materials and doing exercises and assignments.

Short Description

This course gives an overview of current state of the art assistive technologies (AT) for people with disabilities. The course will cover AT for all kinds of disabilities but has a strong focus on AT that allows people to operate a computer.

Long Description

In this course you will gain a basic understanding on assistive technologies (AT) for people with disabilities. The course will start with a brief introduction on the history and the evolution of AT. To give students an understanding about the problems that the different groups of people with disabilities have in their daily life examples for barriers will be given.

The course will then cover special methods how people with disabilities can access and perceive content. Students will learn for example how blind people access information, what barriers they encounter and how AT helps them to overcome these barriers.

In addition, alternative ways of how to interact and operate a computer, like switch access control or eye-tracking control, are demonstrated in this course.

Course Team

Dominique Archambault & Saber Heni (Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis).

Peter Heumader & Reinhard Koutny (Johannes Kepler Universität Linz).

Course Structure

Week 1: Introduction

In this unit a general overview on the scope of assistive technology will be given. It starts with the definition and will give a short overview on the history and the evolution of AT. To give you an understanding about the problems that the different groups of people with disabilities have in their daily life examples for barriers will be given.

  1. Welcome
  2. Assistive technologies – a definition
  3. History and evolution of AT
  4. Requirements to ordinary products
  5. Barriers for Vision Impaired People
  6. Barriers for people with physical disabilities
  7. Barriers for deaf and hard of hearing people
  8. Barriers for people with learning disabilities
  9. What have we learnt?
  10. Test your knowledge

Week 2:  Access to Content 1

The second unit covers special methods how people with disabilities can access and perceive content. Braille devices and screen readers for blind people will be introduced as well as screen magnification software for people with low vision. In the practical part of the unit you will be given the chance to try out some of the AT by yourself.

Content:

  1. Introduction to the problem
  2. Common problems
  3. Speech output
  4. Braille devices
  5. Screen readers
  6. Test a screen reader
  7. Screen magnification
  8. Technology for colour-blindness
  9. Test a screen magnifier
  10. What have we learnt?
  11. Test your knowledge

Week 3:  Access to Content 2

This unit covers AT for deaf and hard of hearing people as well as special technology for people with learning disabilities. Again you will be given the opportunity to try out some of the technology that was introduced by yourself to get a deeper insight.

Content:

  1. Subtitles for videos
  2. Audio descriptions for videos
  3. Create captions on YouTube
  4. Tools for deaf and hard of hearing people
  5. Text layouts for people with learning disabilities
  6. Easy2Read
  7. Tools for people with learning disabilities
  8. Try out a tool
  9. What have we learnt?
  10. Test your knowledge

Week 4: Control Input

In addition to the previous units that focused on the perception of content this unit will focus on how users with disabilities can operate a computer. You will get an overview on the technologies that people with physical disabilities use and how you can control a computer in many different ways.

Content:

  1. Introduction to the problem
  2. Common problems
  3. Technologies to control a computer
  4. Pointing devices
  5. Head tracking and eye tracking
  6. Try out a head tracker
  7. Alternative keyboards
  8. Virtual keyboards
  9. Switches
  10. Switch access scanning mechanisms
  11. Try out switch access scanning
  12. Speech recognition
  13. Software tools
  14. Try out selected tools (assignment)
  15. What have we learnt?
  16. Test your knowledge

Week 5: Conclusion and Further Ideas

The final unit will provide a conclusion of what you have learnt in the previous units. In addition, you will get hints and clues where you can find more information about the material if you are interested in further information about the topic.

Content:

  1. Summing it up
  2. Need for accessibility
  3. Basic principles of creating accessible software
  4. Accessibility APIs and why they matter
  5. Control an accessible and an inaccessible application with AT
  6. Further information
  7. What have we learnt in this course?
  8. Final test quiz

Certification

No certification has been planned.

How to Register

Registering for the course requires the following steps:

  1. Go to the learning platform (Moodle) at http://at.integriert-studieren.jku.at/course/index.php.
  2. Click “Log in” to access the log-in page. If you don’t have an account yet, go to “Create new account”. On the “New account” page, fill in all the details required to create an account (except for city/town and country, all form fields are obligatory) and submit the form. You will then receive a confirmation e-mail at the e-mail address you provided in the form.
  3. The confirmation e-mail will contain a link that will confirm your registration and take you to your “dashboard” on Moodle. You can then go to the “Courses” page and select the course “Assistive Technologies”.

Open Educational Resources

The content from this course is available as a set of open education resources.