With the help of a federal grant, NIU is revolutionizing the way braille is taught

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More than 5,000 teachers of students with visual impairments from across the country have completed an online course developed and hosted at NIU with support from a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The course, known as UEBOT-1 (Unified English Braille Online Training), was designed to train teachers already familiar with the braille code formerly used in the U.S. (English Braille American Edition) in the new braille code, Unified English Braille (UEB), which is now used in English-speaking countries throughout the world.

“UEBOT-1, the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to retrain existing professionals in the field of visual impairments on the new braille code has been running for five years now,” says Stacy Kelly, an associate professor of special education at NIU and the lead on the project. “We’ve trained well over 5,000 people in the new code, and we really have reached a lot of people across the United States with this immediate training and the immediate feedback provided by the new technology of the automated braille grading tool, which is the flagship of the project.”

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