When students are taking introductory Computer Science courses, the lab activities are critical. Tradition text based labs are accessible for average students. However, the traditional labs are difficult to be accessible for students with disabilities. According to the statistics over 2015 and 2016, the number of students with ages 3–21 receiving special education services was 6.7 million, or 13 percent of all public school students. Among students receiving special education services, more than 1/3 had specific learning disabilities or visually-impaired disabilities. “Specific learning disability" means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or to do mathematical calculations. “Visual impairment,” also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Some also include those who have a decreased ability to see because they do not have access to glasses or contact lenses.
When we are focused on colleges, there are about 770,000 students with disabilities (SWD) enrolled in 2- and 4-year institutions. No matter if their majors are Computer Science, STEM or other disciplines, most of them are enrolled in introductory Computer Science (CS) courses. The introductory CS course are critical not only because they are foundation for other Computer Science courses, but also because they are fundamental for students' other professional courses in their disciplines even for their future career. However, the current labs are not fully accessible for students who have disabilities. Providing multimedia based and visual logic block based activities and laboratory materials to our students with disabilities will allow them to enjoy and understand the subject and increase their interest in introductory CS course and further lead them into other courses offered in their disciplines. This project has the potential for improved recruitment and retention of SWD in these fields.
In my proposed approach, multimedia based lab activities and visual logic block based lab components were developed with the tool APP Inventor supported by my funded Presidential Semester Incentive Awards and Presidential Innovation Incentive Awards. The visual lab components help students with special learning disabilities learn and make lab practice accessible to students with visually-impaired disabilities.
The characteristics of APP Inventor, the development of visual labs, and the sample labs were presented. In addition, we compare our new-designed visual programs with traditional text programs and conclude that visual programs outperform traditional text programs in terms of teaching/learning for students with disabilities.
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Computer Science & Information Systems
Computer Science and Information Systems, Mike Cottrell College of Business
- Event date
15 November 2019
- Date submitted
19 July 2022
- Additional information
Dr. Jianjun Yang received his B.S. degree and his first M.S. degree in Computer Science in China, his second M.S. degree in Computer Science during his doctoral study from University of Kentucky, USA in May 2009, and his Ph.D degree in Computer Science from University of Kentucky, USA in 2011. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of North Georgia. His research interest includes wireless networking, computer networks, and image processing. Dr. Yang has been working on the research of Visual System, Image Processing and App Development for many years. As the outcomes, he has published near 50 papers in top journals, conferences, and book chapters, about 40 of which were published in his career in UNG. His high quality publications earned more than 600 citations by many celebrated scholars in the world.
Name of Institution that Granted the Award:
Presidential Innovation Incentive Awards;Presidential Semester Incentive Awards