Paper No. 31
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


KRAEMER, Carol Ann, Institude for Environemntal and Spatial Analysis, Gainesville State College, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566, MOBASHER, Katayoun, College of Science and Mathematics, University of North Georgia, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566 and ROBERTSON, Derek J., D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, 180 East Green Street, Athens, GA 30602,

In fall 2011, a visually-impaired student enrolled into the Physical Geology course at Gainesville State College. The challenge during the semester was figuring out a way to depict concepts learned visually from using a topographic map and to recreate those concepts for a student without sight. A team was formed consisting of the course instructor, a department staff member, a student assistant, the student's previous high school teacher, and the visually-impaired student who provided input during the entire development process. After researching existing teaching techniques on topographic maps, we created our own procedures for developing a unique map providing all the relevant features found on a topographic map used in class. The resulting map was split into two layers; one layer to depict topographic features (contour lines, structures, water bodies, bridges, roads) and another layer to provide the coordinate system of the map. Braille labels and a special "scale bar" were created to guide the student in answering questions concerning the map such as measuring distances and identifying features. The visually-impaired student became proficient enough to teach students with sight, who were blindfolded, how to use his map. Creating an alternative method for conveying visual data provided a visually-impaired student with the same, if not better, experience for learning topographic maps as a student with sight. With a short amount of time and a few supplies this method can be applied to teach any geoscience topic. It is our goal that the information obtained from the construction and application of this creative solution be used by other geoscience faculty.