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university of edinburgh

Adapting Video for VI Learners

Making best use of unmodified materials


By staff

Thorough preparation before the showing of video material to students allows for anticipation of individual needs. Examples may include

  • viewing the video in advance to identify such potential problems as:
    • vital text on the screen being difficult to read
    • shots depending heavily upon the use of colour which may need
  • interpreting for those students with colour perceptual problems
    • fast moving sequences which may be difficult to interpret by many low
  • vision students but especially by those using distance low vision aids for viewing the screen preparing additional/supplementary material in the most appropriate format eg
    • braille
    • large print
    • adapted format to remove any unnecessary information
    • on tape
  • preparing a short summary of the content in an appropriate format
  • giving a copy of the video to the student for viewing before the session
  • checking environmental issues in the viewing room eg
    • seating arrangements including facilities for note taking if
  • necessary (many visually impaired students will use a laptop)
    • appropriate levels of lighting
    • curtains, venetian blinds close adequately
    • blackboards/whiteboards are thoroughly clean if they are going to be used
    • the room is 'safe' and does not present major 'mobility' problems
    • eliminate any obvious glare sources
  • checking the settings/controls of the TV to ensure maximum contrast/brightness and to make sure that there is no reflected source of light on the screen

Finally, talk to the student to find out as much as you can about their visual problems and how they manifest themselves in your subject area. For example, ask them about their preferences in

  • print size
  • lighting levels
  • colour contrast
  • seating arrangement
  • presentation of materials

A good questioning technique will soon highlight areas of difficult or misunderstanding

For students

Students have a responsibility to take control of their own learning and to make their preferences known to members of staff. This may be difficult for some of them in the early stages of college/university life having not yet fully developed self-advocacy or assertiveness skills. Most of all they will not want to appear different to their peers.

Students may need encouraging to

  • voice their own opinions about what 'suits them best' eg print size and layout, lighting levels, seating preferences and choice of adjustment on the TV controls
  • seek personnel help if they are struggling with aspects of the work including video viewing and note taking
  • ask to view video materials beforehand or to have some preliminary notes