Josh (rjl20) wrote in uw,

CSE 142 and accessibility

So, I'll be taking CSE 142 (again) this summer, bringing the number of languages I've taken CSE classes in to five. (Ada, Fortran, C, C++, and now Java. It's a long story.)

I was looking at the homework from last quarter and the homework from this quarter, and I was struck by how visually-oriented many of the assignments are. "Draw a picture which looks like this one." "Make a simple animation." "Write some image-processing algorithms." What if I were blind? The last few times I took CS classes, I could do everything via telnet, using a dumb terminal. Nothing even required moving a cursor around a screen. Now I need a java development environment (which rules out my openbsd machines, but allows me to work from my OS X laptop) and a machine capable of graphics.

I'm honestly curious. If a blind person were to take CSE 142, which seems to require that they be able to see whether, for example, the "ball" object they've created is bouncing off the "wall" object, or if it's passing through it, what would they do? Does the adaptive tech lab have people who will sit with you and watch the screen, describing what's going on? "Nope, the ball just dropped through the right hand corner of the floor." "No, the red triangle is in front of the blue oval. It supposed to be behind it." Or is there display technology which can translate an image into raised lines on some sort of braille tablet?

Isn't there supposed to be some sort of big push for accessibility at the UW right about now? Hrmf.
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