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Board # 90 : Engineering Education for Visually Impaired Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Deborah M. Grzybowski The Ohio State University

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Dr. Deborah Grzybowski is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on making engineering accessible to all students, including students with visual impairments, through the use of art-infused curriculum and models. Prior to becoming focused on student success and retention, her research interests included regulation of intracranial pressure and transport across the blood-brain barrier in addition to various ocular-cellular responses to fluid forces and the resulting implications in ocular pathologies.

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Tiffany Wild The Ohio State University

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Dr. Tiffany Wild began her education career as a middle school science and math teacher. Her interest in visual impairment began when students with visual impairments were placed in her classroom without any support. Those students inspired Dr. Wild to become a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). As a TVI, she has worked as a teacher’s aide for students with visual impairments in an early learning center and as an itinerant teacher for Project PAVE. Dr. Wild was awarded a prestigious doctoral fellowship with the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairments to pursue her doctoral degree and her dissertation was awarded the “Dissertation of the Year” by the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Visual impairment.

Currently Dr. Wild is an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology and coordinates the program in visual impairment. She also is the president-elect for the Division on Visual Impairment and Deafblind and President of the Ohio Chapter for the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Her research focuses on science education for students with visual impairments. Dr. Wild has published and presented both nationally and internationally. It is through her research endeavors that she has been asked to be a co-founding member of the National Center for STEM Education for students with visual impairments, complete research on national STEM programming for the National Federation of the Blind, invitations to present at national, state, and local conventions.

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Se Jeong Yang The Ohio State University

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This research-based paper presents a professional development program for teachers of students with visual impairments (TVI), targeting grades 5-12 focused around bio-engineering. The program goals are to 1) Increase the science, math, and engineering content knowledge for TVIs; 2) Increase TVI’s capacity to teach science, math, and engineering concepts to students with visual impairments (VI); 3) Increase TVIs efficacy in science, math, and engineering; 4) increase TVIs capacity to make modifications and accommodations for students with VI to pre-existing science, math, and engineering lesson plans.

Beck-Winchatz and Riccobono (2007) estimate that there are approximately 100,000 students with visual impairments (VI) in the United States and the majority of these students are following general education curricula. However, less than 30 individuals with VI earned a science and engineering research doctorate on average each year from 2001 to 2009 compared to 25,600 people without a disability on average per year during the same time period (NSF, 2012). Lack of higher level degrees in the science and engineering fields do not reflect the fact that students with VI have the same spectrum of cognitive abilities as sighted peers and with appropriate accommodations can master high-order concepts.

The impact of VI is widely recognized to be particularly significant for math and science learning. Challenges for students with VI in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) areas include lagging several years behind in developing an understanding of particular mathematical concepts (e.g., many and few, same and different, large and small, and part and whole), accessing problem information, and difficulty conceptualizing spatial concepts. Students with VI are not receiving the appropriate accommodations and modifications to curriculum in order to master the concepts.

This quasi-experimental study design involves both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative ethnographic study aims at exploring the ways in which teachers teach scientific concepts or misconceptions that they have in science lessons for students with visual impairments. The current study uses an ethnographic approach that includes extended observations and semi-structured interviews to understand the current teaching practices pre- and post-professional development.

Quantitative data collected includes the Revised Mathematics Anxiety Survey, the Mathematics Evaluation Anxiety Survey, the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument, and the Math Teaching Efficacy Instrument as outlined by Bursal and Paznokas (2006) to determine the anxiety of teachers’ of students with visual impairments anxiety levels and teaching beliefs of math and science. In addition, a custom bio-engineering instrument is being given pre- and post-professional development. Teachers in the treatment group (receiving professional development) will be compared to the control group of nationwide TVIs who complete the same surveys.

We hypothesize that TVIs receiving the professional development graduate level course on bio-engineering will increase their content knowledge, improve their teaching efficacy and reduce their anxiety all leading to improved learning for VI students. We will report on the first year of data collection based on the TVIs professional development pre- and post-testing.

Grzybowski, D. M., & Wild, T., & Yang, S. J. (2017, June), Board # 90 : Engineering Education for Visually Impaired Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27952

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