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Online tool will help train teachers of students with visual impairments

October 24, 2014

Braille-1NIU’s Department of Special and Early Education and the eLearning Services Digital Convergence Lab have secured a federal grant to develop an online training tool to meet the needs of teachers of students with visual impairments nationwide.

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services awarded the five-year, $500,000 grant in September.

Stacy Kelly, an assistant professor in the Visual Disabilities Program, and Sean Tikkun, adjunct instructor and National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities doctoral scholar, will produce a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) that helps teachers to update their skills and knowledge about the Braille code they teach.

Braille code is being transitioned from the English Braille American Edition to the Unified English Braille in an effort to have clearer practices and a more united set of rules internationally for English speaking countries.

The course, which will be offered monthly for four years with a planned start date of summer 2015, will produce an accessible online course that leverages e-learning tools and automation to reach a large audience with high standards of proficiency. The daunting task of retraining an estimated 7,000 or more professionals is a perfect challenge in which to test and advance theory around MOOCs in education.