Project for Students with Disabilities
1) Films of the lessons of the Bachelor's degree in Mathematics.
Today almost all the lessons of the Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and many lessons of the Bachelor's degree in Mathematics for finance and insurance are available on the Moodle platform for all enrolled students.
The project, made possible by the University Office for Students with Disability, has so far seen the participation of the Department of Mathematics, Department of Computer Science, the Multimedia Laboratory Quazza - DAMS (for the supply of the camera), the Integrated Web Services Division of the University (for the supply of the workstations L2L), a number of undergraduate students and contractors (mainly paid by the University Office for Students with Disability).
2) Customized Tutoring for students with special disabilities.
These projects have seen so far the participation of many undergraduate students (paid by the University Office for Students with Disability, the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Mathematics for finance and insurance) and some freelancers. It was thus possible to support students suffering from autism, from upper and lower limb disability and from severe forms of disability that do not allow regular attendance of classes.
Projects in progress
1) Access to mathematics by people with visual disabilities (blind and visually impaired).
The issue of the access to a text containing formulas by a person with visual impairment (via speech synthesis or Braille) is very complex, and substantially unsolved in a satisfactory manner. Following the exploration of currently available products (Lambda, BlindMath, Infty, LaTeX/MathML converters), we developed an algorithm that we consider worthy of further exploration. This algorithm has been tested with speech synthesis and with a Braille display (thanks to a collaboration with the Centre of the Municipality of Turin for the Blind and Visually Impaired with two students of secondary schools.
At the conclusion of the work, we plan to apply this algorithm to the creation of 10 pages from a booklet of a basic course of the first year of mathematics. Apart from the obvious purpose of supporting the students of the University, we mean (through collaborations with students with visual impairments of the secondary school) to introduce these instruments to our potential future students and, in this way, to encourage enrollment at our University.
The project, started about sixteen months ago, has so far seen the participation of the ICT Office of the Department of Mathematics, of undergraduate and graduate students (all paid by the Department of Mathematics), and of Dr. Tornavacca, graduated a few years ago in Mathematics , visually impaired, who has provided his fundamental work of counseling during 3 hours per week from September 2012 to July 2013 on a voluntary basis. Another blind person who collaborated on a voluntary basis and who sadly passed away was Mr. Polin. We also took advantage of the useful contacts with prof. Ferrario (University of Milano Bicocca) who coordinates a similar project.
2 ) Access to the computer by speech command and note taking.
Thanks to the kind cooperation of some 5 colleagues from the Faculties of Humanities, we recorded and subsequently transcribed ten two-hour lessons with the program "Dragon Naturally Speaking" . It allows to control the main programs of writing and surfing the net with the voice; moreover, it may also, from a voice file (es.mp3), return a written text (however, up to now, in absence of formulas). We intend to understand how to improve the performance of Dragon with the purpose to spread it among students with disabilities in the upper limbs and, in general, to enhance/complement the note taking service. Through future collaborations with the Secondary School we intend to introduce these products to our potential future students and, in this way, to encourage enrollment in our University. The project, started about sixteen months ago, has so far seen the participation of the ICT Office of the Department of Mathematics and undergraduate and graduate students (all paid by the Department of Mathematics).
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