Eurochance -- Language courses for blind and visually impaired

Project

Content:

About the Eurochance Project

The General Aim

The general aim of the project is to reduce the unemployment rate of the blind and visually impaired. By improving the skills of the visually impaired and raising the level of awareness of the professional community regarding the skills and competences of the blind and visually impaired, it is hoped that this project will make a solid con tribution to achieving this goal. Specifically our partnership has developed English and German language modules for the blind and visually impaired, which are available using Internet.

The project seeks to increase the language and cultural skills of blind employees, whilst raising their awareness of employment possibilities and aiding further personal development. A necessary condition for the success of the project is accessibility of the project results to a wide spectrum of end users even upon cessation of the Leonardo da Vinci programme funding. Consequently we aim to use the project result as a platform for further dissemination of the modules and for the development of other European language modules. The Internet application should become an informative and educational source for the blind community, as well as for the professional public.

An essential part of the project is an informative campaign aimed at setting an example to all potential employers of the blind. We aspire to help the blind to find employment in national and multinational companies where there is a real need for qualified staff and where many positions can be held by appropriately qualified visually impaired people. Institutions and organisations which are in a position to meet the needs of the blind and are able to offer them suitable work will be in contact and cooperate with the project. Finally, the project aims to motivate visually impaired people to participate more in the social, political and economic spheres.

Primary Target Groups

  • Blind administrative assistants, interpreters/translators, professions in the authorial field, computer operators
  • Blind people involved in vocational training
  • Vocational teachers for the blind
  • The professional community
  • The blind community

Outcomes

  • English and German language modules for blind and visually impaired employees and entrepreneurs
  • Source of information concerning employment possibilities for the blind * Source of information for employers of blind people Impact * * Support the interest of blind people in further education and vocational education.
  • Improve the access of the blind to vocational training * Improve the access of the blind to language training by creating a self-learning tool. * Improve the quality of vocational and language training for the blind

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Accessibility Statement

The courses are optimised to be accessible for blind and visually impaired people using assistive technologies, such as screen-magnification or screen-reading with speech synthesis and/or refreshable Braille displays.

The W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 are respected and the product was tested with users of different target technologies.

Due to the specific objective of the project, other types of handicaps were not taken into account, so the result cannot be considered generally accessible to the full extent recommended by the WCAG. Some features (for example listening comprehension exercises) are inherently inaccessible to deaf people, others (such as special keyboard shortcuts to control the exercises) may be inaccessible to motor handicapped users.

Employment Possibilities for the Blind

The information concerning employment possibilities for the blind as well as information for employers of blind people is only available in the English language.

The following documents are available:

Software Development

Software tools were developed as a part of the project in two main fields:
  • Processing the multimedia learning content and producing an interactive, accessible presentation suitable for use in an on-line or off-line learning environment.
  • Improving the available free software tools to ensure that users are able

to access the product without being required to use any commercial or proprietary software.

The first goal was achieved by developing a new product called LCG (Learning Content Generator). You can find out more about the LCG at http://www.freebsoft.org/lcg.

The second goal was achieved by contributing the development of the following projects:

  • Festival Czech and Czech Diphone Database (speech synthesis system)
  • speechd-el (speech support for the Emacs environment)
  • Speech Dispatcher (common interface to speech synthesis)
  • Speechd-Up (Speakup interface for Speech Dispatcher)
  • Gnome Speech SpeechD Driver (Gnome Speech driver for Speech Dispatcher)
  • Wiking (accessible content management system)
  • WAhelper (Web Accessibility helpers)

See the Free(b)soft project homepage for more information about these projects. All the software that was developed is available free, including its source code, under the terms of GNU GPL (see below).

Licenses

All the project outcomes are available free of charge. The source texts can be downloaded from the project website. Copyright information and concrete applicable license is stated for each particular part separately (in the course, in the software etc), but in general the license is always either GNU General Public License or GNU Free Documentation License as published by the Free Software Foundation.