Adapting Student IDEs for Blind Programmers

Emmanuel Schanzer, Sina Bahram, Shriram Krishnamurthi

Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research, 2020

(Short Paper.)


What does it take to adapt a programming environment so students with low or no vision can comfortably use it? Every aspect of the environment needs attention, from toolbars to editors to interactive components. We describe the steps we had to take to adapt WeScheme, the environment used by Bootstrap:Algebra. We also summarize the experience of a group of blind students using the result, and present some lessons for other curricula to consider.

A particular challenge in Bootstrap:Algebra is its heavy reliance on images, which many other media-rich curricula also use. Visual computing is, almost by definition, inaccessible to students with low or poor vision. This poses curricular, legal, and moral obstacles for computing educators who want to use these curricula.



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