Read A Book

For the past few weeks I have been very involved in helping my daughter, Shantel, complete some big project assignments for her college classes. Most of the time her assignments require listening to her college course books on disk from Learning Ally. Like the one below.

When Shantel enrolls in her classes she is responsible for finding out what books she will need and orders them on-line through the Learning Ally Website.

These books on disk all arrived at the same time about a week after Shantel order them and include everything she needs for the four college classes she is taking this semester. All sounds so simple right?

Well, noting is always as simple as it seems. The first bump in the road came when her Intercultural Communication Professor gave an assignment that involves picking a country, Shantel picked South Africa, and researching everything you can find about the communication styles and life styles of the culture you choose. Then they need to give a 13-15 minute presentation in class about their country. Once the material is written, I will listen to the presentation while timing Shantel to ensure she meets the time frame requirements…

The presentation must include points of interest about the people, their general attitudes and values, language, dominant religion, holidays, family, dating/courtship, marriage, work, recreation, food, art, music, dance, social and economic levels and they need to show the class where the country is located and give a brief description of the land..

They must have the an outline of the presentation typed using appropriate outline format. The outline must include (in-text) parenthetical citations. They must develop a bibliography that includes at least ten scholarly sources. They can have six or more scholarly books or scholarly journal articles, one or two expert interviews and no more than four scholarly Internet sources from the school databases. They must use appropriate MLA or APA style…When they give their presentation they must use visual aids which includes a “rich display” for the classmates to experience a bit of the culture. Examples can include: posters, maps, clothing, artifacts, music, food, video clips, PowerPoint presentations, etc. They cannot have more than two minutes of media in the presentation, excluding PowerPoint. Now, if that isn’t enough to make your head spin…imagine trying to accomplish this when the JAWS program on your computer won’t pick up half of the information on the scholarly sites…JAWS is the program Shantel uses that allows her computer to speak to her. However, it will not pick up things like maps, pictures of costumes etc. Any visuals on the screen are simply reported as a graphic with no explanation.

Another BIG problem is the books on disk are not considered scholarly sources, and neither is just using Google…And it is too late to have any books brailled. It can take months to have one book brailled.

This is what a braille book looks like. Shantel reads the raised dots that form contracted words for her. The problem with reading braille is you don’t get the words spelled out  and you don’t get pronunciations which make it difficult to understand when you are reading complex material.

A simple magazine like this Seventeen magazine (one magazine) takes up three volumes in braille. Imagine how many volumes a whole hard cover book would be. We wouldn’t have enough space in our whole house and yard to house ten scholarly sources.

What to do?

We had a meeting with the Professor and Disability Services last Friday to determine a work around.

Enter mom, who was assigned the task of making copies from books in the college library of the information Shantel wants to use in her presentation on South Africa so the copies can be scanned and emailed to Shantel so her computer can read the information to her…VERY time consuming but hey, I’m happy to help my daughter in any way I can.

Tomorrow at 10:30 we are to meet in the library and the library staff will pull many books on South Africa and have them ready for me to begin reading sections out of them to Shantel so she can decide what information she wants to use. Then I will copy those pages and send them to be scanned…It’s not the best plan I ever heard, but it’s a plan. I like plans so I agreed…

Yesterday Shantel comes home and tells me there has been a slight change in the plan. What I ask? She tells me her Nutrition study group want her to meet them at 8:30 Friday so she can study with them. Also one of the ladies in the study group wants to meet me, then I can go and wait for Shantel to finish with her study group so we can move on to our read/copy project at 10:30.. I sighed a big sigh and said to my precious daughter that I am already going out of my way to help “Shantel, what am I supposed to do from 8:30 until 10:30 when the books will be ready for our copy project”? My beautiful,  smartass,   I mean precious, daughter smiles that smile of hers again and says “mom, it’s a library, Read A Book”!

OMG, the things I do and call it fun:) Shoot me now and put me out of my misery…

I sure hope if I survive all this college activity I at least get an honorary degree!!

Stay tuned!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 17:03:08

    Ha ha! A little smart ass is right! Why we love her so! Your stories are just incredible! Love you so!


  2. Megs
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 21:41:55

    LOL! Such a smart ass! Ha! Xo


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