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Visual Impairment & STEM

Lead Institution: University of Bath
Collaborating with: University of Southampton, Plymouth University, Royal Agricultural College, Loughborough University, London School of Economics

Project Report

This National HE STEM Programme project aimed to work with a range of stakeholders from schools, Further and Higher Education (HE), visually impaired students and their allies. These stakeholders also included Aimhigher practitioners, academic and support staff and those supporting transition into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The principles of the project were to identify, build upon and extend existing good practice to assist students with visual impairment to access STEM subjects in HE and to succeed specifically in the context of STEM discipline curricula. The project was based on the premise that ‘parents, careers advisers and transition teachers [are] not routinely aware of the services and reasonable adjustments which are the entitlement of disabled students’.

The VI STEM project sought to provide resources to enable informed decision making at the time of transition and during progression through higher education to placement and future employment. In addition a key focus for the project was to promote inclusive teaching. To this end it has provided resources for academic continuing professional development to ensure teaching and laboratory work is accessible to students who are blind or visually impaired.

The final report for the project can be downloaded below:

VI & STEM - Final Project Report

Project Highlights

1. The production of a range of case studies authored by academics with a visual impairment, capturing their experiences of studying STEM with a visual impairment.

2. The hosting of an innovative event at the University of Bath (Inspiring Students with a Visual Impairment) specifically tailored to students with a visual impairment and their allies

3. The production of STEM Learning & Teaching Reconfigured, an innovative online resource hosting a collection of assets aimed at demonstrating ways to help those who teach and support visually impaired and blind students on STEM courses

Staff involved

EA Draffan
Project lead, University of Southampton

Judith Waterfield
Project lead, Plymouth University

Iryna Withington
University of Bath

John Conway
Royal Agricultural College

Sharron Sturgess
Loughborough University

Simon Hayhoe
London School of Economics