UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A vision of whales : creating a whale research program for individuals who are blind or visually impaired Kent, Lynn Andrea


The purpose of this research project was to explore how field experience can be used to increase understanding and researcher behaviours in young adults who are blind or visually impaired. This study probed effective teaching methods and solutions to accessibility issues through high-level participation in a field ecology research setting involving marine mammals. The weeklong program was executed in a pre-existing long-term gray whale ecology research site in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia. Four research questions guided the overall planning of the program. The concentration of effort was applied to adapting the field site and equipment in order for students to use and access the resources during planned multisensory activities. Three post-secondary students spent a week in the field becoming active marine mammal researchers. Data for this study were gathered through a variety of qualitative methods including vocabulary checklists, journal writing, a group case study and questionnaires. The results of this program have implications for educational opportunities by highlighting how addressing and offering learning tools that appeal to a variety of learners can create new and vital opportunities for students who are visually impaired.

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