Is posting handwritten work from class, done on a document camera, from face-to-face class an access

Kristy_WoodsKristy_Woods Member
edited September 2019 in CCC Accessibility Center

Hello.  I currently post on canvas accessible pdfs to aid students in taking structured lecture notes during in-class lecture.  I also make handouts of these and pass them out in class.   During class we collaboratively fill out these structured packets, while projecting the work on the document camera, with colors.  I than scan these non-accessible, handwritten notes from class and post on canvas.  Is this in violation of any accessibility laws since the work was done in class with full accommodations and is only being made available again online? 

Answers

  • GianGian Member
    edited September 2019
    Hi Kristy

    Yes, it is still important to provide an alternative to the PDF. Whilst theinformation may have been gone over in class, when users go back to theinformation they will not have the benefit of the in class knowledge, or mayhave forgotten some of the information. The scanned PDF will not be accessiblein providing that to them. Typing the information into a Word document andproviding that with the PDF is a good alternative.

    Cheers
    Gian
  • Kristy_WoodsKristy_Woods Member
    edited February 2018
    Gian.  I very much appreciate your response!  Since I am a math teacher and handwritten collaboration in class can result in pages long documentation, is the retyping of the material (words, equations, graphs, diagrams, etc.) a must according to the law or only a best practice?  [Of course I will want to make everything as accessible as possible and will attempt to recreate a typed version as a best practice.]
  • NicolasNicolas Member
    edited February 2018
    Section 508 accessibility standards apply to the content made available in electronic format.  This is regardless of the process that resulted in the creation of the content.  My understanding is that the handwritten notes, when posted online for the class, are required to be posted in an accessible format in order to be in compliance.
  • edited September 2019
    Hello, 

    This question came up at a meeting with the Math department at my school last week (9/2019). Faculty are wondering if there are any tools out there to help make these handwritten notes accessible (besides re-writing). 

    I am wondering if anyone has tried out using a tablet (that has a pen to write/draw) which then converts to a readable document?  Another thought was to record a video describing/explaining the notes. That may or may not be easier than re-typing mathematical equations, but, would that meet the requirements of making these handwritten notes accessible?

    Is the State doing anything to assist faculty in finding ways to make math materials accessible?  I feel this includes chemistry, physics and biology? Is there a list of recommended applications/software that could be used?

    Please advise!

    Thank you very much for your time and support!

    Audrey Blumeneau
  • GianGian Member
    edited September 2019
    Hi Audrey

    There is a product called a Remarkable: https://remarkable.com that converts handwriting to text. No doubt there are others as well. However, I will pass this on to Sean Keegan who knows much more about this than me!

    Cheers
    Gian
  • edited September 2019
    Thank you so much Gian! 

    My initial reaction is you have to buy another 'tablet' ($499 for refurbished) for a price that is quite similar to a Surface Pro or iPad. 

    Also, I wasn't clear on whether or not Remarkable converts mathematical symbols or not (they did have a FAQ: Question: "Will you support math symbol recognition, shape recognition, etc.?  Answer: "Let's just say the future of the reMarkable is bright and filled with many exciting possibilities. That being said, we never promise anything more than what we feature on our web pages and under product specifications."  

    I looked for their product specs and did not see anything related to this topic. 

    Not sure that schools will have the money to invest on this, however, it does look like a very interesting product. I guess the question might be, if you have a tablet already, would it be worth to pay for this product?! 

    Thank you so much for this information. It's great to see what technology is out there and this did look super cool overall.

    Audrey Blumeneau
  • GianGian Member
    edited September 2019
    Hi Audrey

    From that Remarkable's response they definitely sound like they don't support mathematical symbols!

    The Remarkable is a lot easier to write on than an ordinary tablet. I have a laptop, a tablet and a Remarkable. If I took notes on my tablet then I would use the on-screen keyboard, not handwriting.

    I wish you well in your hunt, and I am sure that Sean has more to say on the topic.

    Cheers
    Gian
  • Sean_KeeganSean_Keegan Member
    edited September 2019
    Hello Kristy,

    Yes, if you are posting an electronic version of the materials, then there would need to be a version of the electronic materials that is accessible.

    What I have seen some instructors do is prepare (in advance) an electronic version of the materials that would meet accessibility standards. For example, for math content, one solution may be to use MathType with MS Word to create the electronic version with all the relevant information. The handwritten version could then be posted alongside the digital version. As long as there is parity between the two documents, then posting both is fine.

    In terms of handwritten notes - this is a challenge in that it is much easier and simpler to just take a "picture" of the content and post that information. The web-based version of MathType (see https://docs.wiris.com/en/mathtype/mathtype_web/handwritten-input), the MathType for MS Word for iPad, and MathType for Google Docs all support handwriting recognition capabilities. These tools may be possible options to assist with the transition from posting a picture of handwritten notes to creating alternate electronic content.

    I do recognize the challenge in changing the manner in which handwritten notes have been created and delivered. I do believe this is a conversation that must begin within the department and with the appropriate Dean to identify which solutions will be useful in providing effective classroom instruction, but also delivering materials accessible to all students.  

    Take care,
    Sean

     
  • Sean_KeeganSean_Keegan Member
    edited September 2019
    Hi Audrey,

    In terms of handwritten notes for math - the web-based version of MathType (see https://docs.wiris.com/en/mathtype/mathtype_web/handwritten-input), the MathType for MS Word for iPad, and MathType for Google Docs all support handwriting recognition capabilities for math content.

    In terms of software tools that convert handwriting into electronic text - the short answer is, "not really." While there are a number of different apps and online tools that will claim they can handle such recognition, the accuracy tends to be low for handwriting. In speaking with some instructors, they found it easier and faster to just retype the information.

    Unfortunately, there is no automated solution yet...

    Take care,
    Sean


  • edited September 2019
    Thank you so much for this information, Sean.

    I will pass this on to our Math department! 

    Your insight and advice is greatly appreciated. 

    Audrey
  • edited September 2019
    Thank you Gian! 

    Remarkable did look really interesting but I wish they made it more clear whether they did or did not support Math symbols and whether it was accessible. Oh well!  Thanks again for your time and insight! 

    Audrey
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