Gunnar Haugsveen has completed the course "Effective Web". The General Secretary of The Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted has been a "guinea pig" for the new training program. He says the course has made it easier to use Internet, and he passed the course test with flying colors!
Story by: Morten Tollefsen - 06.05.2010
The most important thing I learned on this course is to use different strategies to find information", says Haugsveen. "I managed to find things online before, but new techniques mean that I work faster and feel I have more control."
Cathy Kalvenes has been Haugsveen's teacher. She says:
"Teaching has been an enjoyable and useful experience for both of us. Gunnar has been an exceptionally pleasant pupil. He is proficient with both speech and Braille, but in the beginning he was cautious, perhaps a little wary or afraid of new techniques. This didn't last long when he realized that important techniques were easy to learn and use with a little practice. Gunnar was good at giving feedback when he experienced difficulties. He was always ready to solve the problem, and not just stop. Gunnar became more motivated to learn new things. It was hard work, and we barely squeezed in a ten minute break. We were working effectively in every way, with links, headings, tables and form fields. Complicated pages became manageable for Gunnar. It wasn't as tiring. reading web pages became much more enjoyable. And the test showed that he has learned new, useful ways to find information".
After the test, Cathy thanked Gunnar for his contribution and was full of praise for her pilot pupil!
"It is I who should thank you for being able to attend the course," said Haugsveen. He says that the teaching has been informative and that the course covers the important techniques that enable a blind person to use the web efficiently. "It's easy when you know how!," says Gunnar, and adds "I have learned new techniques, and a lot of things will be easier."
Visually impaired use ordinary computers and browsers. The blind also need a screen reader that reads the text with synthetic speech and / or displays text as Braille. Speech reads a word at a time. With Braille you can read a few characters at a time. Whatever, the window to the world is very small! Which is why screen reader functionality is necessary to use the web efficiently.This functionality must be learnt! Blind users can use Internet well, but demands on the user are much greater than when using the visual user interface.
Many users with low vision have screen magnifiers. With high magnification the challenges are comparable to the challenges to blind users. Screen magnifiers also have functionality to increase efficiency when text and graphics are enlarged.
In principle the visually impaired should be able to do the same as those who see. A detailed syllabus is available in the ECDL. The syllabus covers both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The ECDL is a good starting point to define "necessary user competence". Many visually impaired use computer assistive devices, and procedures differ from those used by sighted users. For example, the blind cannot use the mouse. Assistive technology includes specific functionality which must be learned in order to work effectively. Visually impaired need to know more, and this is now defined in two different syllabuses:
The project has conducted workshops, and undertaken development of the syllabus and much more. We are therefore confident that the competency, training and testing is suitable and of high quality.
MediaLT offers the course "Effective Web". The course duration is 12 hours. Since we specialize in teaching people with different assumptions and needs, we can also provide courses which are adapted to the needs of the individual, also course duration. The 12 hour course assumes that you are already a little familiar with assistive technology and the web. Please contact us if you have questions about courses, tests or syllabus!