Braille for College Level STEM Courses


Scheduled at 8:00am in Waverly on Thursday, November 16 (2017).



  • Christa Miller, Director of Inclusive Media Design, Virginia Tech
  • Kelly Woodward, Coordinator of Accessible Materials and Adaptive Technology, Radford University
  • Chelsea Cook, , Virginia Tech Alumnae

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 2-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Receiving a Braille accommodation request for the first time can seem daunting, and for majors in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) even more so. This session will explore the lessons learned, questions to ask, How-to's, and resources to know for any higher education professional who needs to support a Braille reader in STEM.


For any student, college level Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) courses can be both exciting and challenging. For students who read Braille, STEM courses increase the complexity of the college transition for the student and the college. In fact, it may be the first time the college has been asked to produce Nemeth Braille or complex Tactile Graphics. This session will focus on the experiences and best practices developed at Virginia Tech to provide Braille for STEM courses, as a reasonable accommodation. Planning ahead and good communication are key to a successful working relationship for all involved. Other topics covered include the top ten lessons learned, questions that parents and students can/should ask prospective colleges and universities, and other resources available for obtaining college level Braille for STEM courses. During the second hour of the session we will explore in-depth how various types of material were converted, transcribed, proofread and delivered.


  1. List 10 actions that promote a positive working relationship for all when requesting/providing a Braille accommodation.
  2. List 3 key questions parents and students should be prepared to ask prospective colleges about receiving Braille as an accommodation.
  3. Identify 3 publicly available resources for students to access college level Braille materials.

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Information Resources, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Christa Miller

Christa Miller is a proud Virginia Tech Hokie and is currently the Director of Inclusive Media Design. She first became interested in assistive technologies (AT) while earning her BS in Electrical Engineering. Her passion for accessible technology and universal design then led her to pursue her MS in Industrial Systems Engineering, concentrating in Human Factors.

Between 2006 and 2018, Christa has worked in many roles for Assistive Technologies, part of Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS). Notable among these was as the lead Braille Transcriber for Braille Services. Her unique knowledge of the tools and technologies needed to produce Braille for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses has led her to consult with disability service providers from many other post-secondary institutions and share that knowledge at national conferences.

In her current role, Christa has enjoyed co-leading a many professional development programs aimed at providing teaching faculty, instructors and graduate teaching assistants with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to create inclusive learning environments.

Kelly Woodward

Kelly has worked in the higher education setting since 2009. She is the Coordinator of Accessible Materials and Adaptive Technology as well as a Disability Services Specialist at Radford University, Radford Virginia. Kelly is passionate about adaptive technology and accessibility. She assists, trains, and consults with students, faculty, and administrators on how to integrate assistive technology into course instruction and works with student to ensure equal access to instructional materials.

Chelsea Cook

Chelsea Cook graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Physics. She has since interned with NASA and has recently relocated to beautiful Colorado.


  • Braille STEM Top Ten List

    The top ten list of lessons learned by the Virginia Tech Braille team regarding producing Braille for STEM

  • Braille for STEM

    Slide deck for Braille for STEM produced by Christa Miller and Chelsea Cook from Virginia Tech.

Braille STEM Top Ten List Braille for STEM