Braille for College Level STEM Courses


Presented at 8:00am in Waverly on Thursday, November 16, 2017.



  • Christa Miller, Associate Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, 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, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Christa Miller

Christa Miller started at Virginia Tech in 2006. After many years of accessible educational material development and alternative format production, she transitioned to a training-focused role. Her experience includes reading/writing Braille, developing captioning workflows, and working individually with instructors to create accessible content. Today she conducts one-time and semester-long training on accessibility and supervises the creation of accessible media. She also runs accessibility software pilots, collaborates on accessibility initiatives in other departments, and leads bi-annual cohorts of individuals preparing to become certified in accessibility core competencies. She is currently the Associate Director of Services for Students with Disabilities

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