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Solving Problems of Mathematics Accessibility with Process-driven Math: Methods and Implications

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Creating Equity Through Structure and Pedagogy

Tagged Topics

Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee

Page Count

27

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30977

Download Count

83

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Paper Authors

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Canek Moises Luna Phillips Rice University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6571-2733

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Canek Phillips (P’urepecha) is a postdoctoral research associate at Rice University in the Brown School of Engineering. Canek’s research interests broadly relate to efforts to broaden participation in engineering. Currently, he is working on a project to improve mathematics education for visually impaired students.

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Ann Patrice Gulley Auburn University at Montgomery

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Yvette E. Pearson P.E. Rice University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8781-7085

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Dr. Yvette E. Pearson holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Chemistry from Southern University and A&M College and a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from the University of New Orleans. She is Associate Dean for Accreditation and Assessment in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, a Program Evaluator for the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, a registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana, a former Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation, and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Dr. Pearson currently chairs ASCE's Formal Engineering Education Committee, and is Vice Chair of ASCE's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

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Logan C. Prickett Auburn University at Montgomery

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Luke A. Smith Auburn University at Montgomery

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Joshua Eyler Rice University

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I am Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Adjunct Associate Professor of Humanities at Rice University.

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Steve Noble University of Louisville

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Steve Noble is a nationally recognized research and development expert in the realm of assistive technology and accessible education for students with disabilities. With special research emphasis in science and mathematics, Steve has been a frequent advisor to education entities and government bodies on the status of STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for students with disabilities. Mr. Noble currently serves as faculty with the University of Louisville and as Math and Science Content Specialist for Bridge Multimedia, as well as a research contractor for a number of education technology companies. Previous positions have included Director of Accessibility Policy at Design Science, Inc., as a state government Policy Analyst at the Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network, and as Manager of Product Development for Learning Ally. Steve has held a variety of posts at the state and national level, including Chair of the national Adult Issues Committee and member of the National Board of Directors for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and three terms as State President for the Learning Disabilities Association of Kentucky. He also served a 10-year term as a member of the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards (NIMAS) Board for the US Department of Education. Mr. Noble has also been active in the public policy arena, and was the primary originating drafter of two important Kentucky laws relating to education for people with disabilities, the Accessible Textbook Act of 2002, and the Kentucky Postsecondary Textbook Accessibility Act of 2003.

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Matthew F. Ragland Auburn University at Montgomery

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Dr. Ragland is the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Faculty Services at Auburn University at Montgomery and a Professor of Mathematics. He has a number of research publications in the field of Group Theory and has recently become interested in making mathematics education more accessible for students with disabilities.

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Jordan Allen Price Auburn University at Montgomery

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Anila K. Shethia M.B.A. Rice University

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Luis Perez Ph.D. National AEM Center

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Caroline Dunn Auburn University at Montgomery

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Caroline Dunn is a Humana-Germany-Sherman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling in the College of Education at Auburn University. She received a B.S. in special education from Miami University and a M.Ed. and Ph.D. in special education from the University of Texas. She taught high school students with disabilities in Houston and Austin, Texas. Her research interests focus on the transition of students with disabilities from secondary to postsecondary environments and strategies for increasing the success of students with disabilities in STEM.

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Abstract

In this paper, we introduce a National Science Foundation funded study that has broader implications for engineering education. The project’s goal is to improve mathematics education, with emphasis on accessibility for students with visual impairments and print disabilities (VIP). Central to the project is an innovative teaching and assessment methodology we call Process-Driven Math (PDM), which has its basis in universal design for learning (UDL) and user-centered design (UCD). The motivation for investigating and disseminating PDM is the trend in the growing number of students with VIP in mainstream classrooms nationwide. A taken for granted aspect of mainstream mathematics education is that teachers typically teach mathematics through visual media that requires good vision. Hence, students with VIP face a major pedagogical limitation in the typical mainstream mathematics classroom.

PDM was initially developed as a fully audio-based method of teaching and assessing mathematics. The method was developed in collaboration with a learner who is blind and who, due to other physical and sensory limitations, cannot use mathematics braille such as Nemeth Code. The UCD approach enabled the learner to specify needs and requirements while working with the team to develop and evaluate solutions to meet those needs. True to the UDL philosophy, PDM is designed to provide several means of representation, action, expression, and engagement to facilitate learning for students with and without VIP. PDM offers an approach and media that communicate the correct use of mathematics terminology, operations, and notations without the need for eyesight in a method specifically designed to minimize the cognitive load inherent to complex mathematics problems. It has been adapted for sighted learners using tools to reduce the visual syntax, which is particularly helpful for learners with dyslexia. Based on preliminary findings from case studies, we believe PDM will improve learning for students with dyscalculia and math anxiety as well. In this work-in-progress paper, we describe our methodology for researching the efficacy of PDM as a method for improving mathematics learning and assessment in traditional undergraduate courses for sighted learners, as well as in courses at state schools for the blind in which students with visual impairments are traditionally taught using mathematics braille. Furthermore, we describe preliminary successes with PDM and its potential to contribute several broader impacts related to engineering education, and STEM education more broadly.

Phillips, C. M. L., & Gulley, A. P., & Pearson, Y. E., & Prickett, L. C., & Smith, L. A., & Eyler, J., & Noble, S., & Ragland, M. F., & Price, J. A., & Shethia, A. K., & Perez, L., & Dunn, C. (2018, June), Solving Problems of Mathematics Accessibility with Process-driven Math: Methods and Implications Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30977

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