+2 votes
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (140 points)
edited ago by
Next semester, I have a completely blind student taking my Microeconomics principles course.  It will be a challenge given all the visual concepts.

Anyone have any experience teaching econ to the blind?  Anyone know of an online textbook solution that is completely accessible (i.e. has alt-text to explain all the graphs and the student can read and submit online graph homework)?  Ideas for creating graphs using tactile materials?  

The student will have an assistant in class to take notes on the graphs. So far, the ideas I have are using: Wikki Stix on raised line graph paper, rubber band board with pegs, 3D pen that writes with filament. Any other ideas?

Anyone know of a textbook and online homework solution that is fully accessible, including alt text for graphs?

Thanks in advance.  It’s going to be a challenge but I’m so glad that our college is going to provide the resources to make this class as accessible as possible.

2 Answers

0 votes
answered ago by (200 points)
My very first day as a professor, I walked in to teach principles and in walks a kid with a seeing eye dog.

First thing I did was to describe what I was drawing. For a demand curve, I said "A downward sloping line." Then I realized that it helped my sighted students, because I would say what is important. I told them that if I said "downward-sloping line," then it might be straight or curved.

A few times my blind student would come in during office hours and I would pull out a few pencils that he could touch. I think I had some string I could use for curves.

At that college, students could take the two semesters of principles in either sequence. We always started with supply and demand, on the theory that  those who already had learned it could benefit from a review. So in the blind kid's second semester, I asked the class what happened when incomes increased. The blind kid spoke up and said, "Well the demand curve shifts to the right. So the intersection is higher, meaning a higher price, and its farther to the right so that means a higher quantity." All the sighted kids who were taking their first course were dumbfounded--how does the blind kid see this stuff?

Good luck to you.
0 votes
answered ago by (150 points)
I don't have any experience with this but I wonder if the office of disability services (or analogous office) might be able to help.  Seems like they might have resources and be able to point you to another instructor who has had students with similar disabilities.