Mimio Technology Aids MBA Student

ACANS News & Information Center

Mimio Technology Aids MBA Student

Ron Jones, a second semester MBA student at New Mexico State University, is visually impaired.  He is among Professor Marta Remmenga’s Statistical Interference 506 students.  As he sits through her class, he says, “I don’t know why we can’t revel in the fact that 2+2=4. ”

Professor Remmenga helps Ron Jones adjust the contrast on his computer screen.Professor Remmenga helps Ron Jones adjust the contrast on his computer screen.

Ron suffers from myopic macular degeneration.   In Ron’s case, the central part of the retina, which is that part of the eye that allows him to see straight ahead, is progressively degenerating.  He says that it is as if there was a fist in the center of his viewing plane obstructing his sight.   Today, 14 years after first being diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration, his vision is 20/200 in one eye, and 20/400 in the other eye.   It is a debilitating disease and many who suffer from it, retreat from life.  But Ron has refused to retreat, and he has ventured back into the classroom.

For the second semester, Ron is sitting in a statistic class taught by Professor Remmenga.  And this semester’s class, like last semester ’s class, is very visual.  In addition to working formulas on the whiteboard, Professor Remmenga draws air boxes and waves her arms to emphasize a point.  “It (last semester’s class) was brutal,” says Ron.  The only technology available to him last semester was a tape recording of the lecture.

Ron let his needs be known, and Professor Remmenga tried to adapt her teaching style to meet those needs.  “I am a chalkboard teacher,” states Professor Remmenga.  “I tried to describe the formulas in detail as I was writing them.  I think it helped to a certain extend, but that is not like seeing them.  It is not like having a picture of what the formula looks like.”  Realizing this technique was not working, Ron and Professor Remmenga began brainstorming ideas.  They considered Smartboard technology, but quickly dismissed it after seeing the $10,000 price tag.   After consulting with Nolan Gray, ICT Instructional Technology Manager, they decided on Mimio technology.

Mimio technology allows the whiteboard to be interactive, meaning that as Professor Remmenga writes formulas on the whiteboard, they are projected onto a desktop computer used by Ron.

Professor Remmenga works on the whiteboard. The Mimio camera, attached to the side of the whiteboard, projects her work to Ron Jones' computer.Professor Remmenga works on the whiteboard. The Mimio camera, attached to the side of the whiteboard, projects her work to Ron Jones’ computer.

The computer is equipped with software that enables Ron to enlarge the font size and thus see what the rest of the class is seeing.  The computer and accompanying software were purchased by the office of Services for Students with Disabilities.  The Mimio technology was purchased by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Mimio technology has been a very good tool for both Ron and Professor Remmenga.  “This semester’s class,” states Professor Remmenga, “is terribly visual.  We are going to start doing some analyses that is tied to plotting and looking at visual diagnosis to decide what it is we are looking at, and then we will analyses the data, looking for patterns so that we can decisions about it.   Ron and I are going to have to do some brainstorming.”

Mimio technology can be enhanced with voice recording, and both Ron and Professor Remmenga agree this added feature would be beneficial to not only Ron, but to the entire class.  “For an extra $100,” says Remmenga, “which I am still trying to sweet talk Nolan into, it will record my voice and my writing, and it will save both as a movie.  I think that would be useful to Ron.”   Without hesitation, Ron agrees and enthusiastically says, “Absolutely!”

Ron has aspirations of earning his Ph.D. and possibility teaching one day.   With 22 years experience in financial services, and his dedication to being a student, he thinks he has much to offer.

In Fall 2005, there were 12,592 full-time students enrolled on NMSU’s main campus.  Services for Students with Disabilities worked with 150 of those students.  According to Carol Brown, Assistive Technology Specialist, there are 11 students with visual impairments, Ron is among those students.

Among the disabilities Brown and other members of the office of Services for Students with Disabilities work with are: learning disability, physical or health impairments, ADD/ADHD, psychological disabilities, visual impairments, hearing impairments, deaf, blind, and autism/asperger disease.  And although accommodations come in various forms, Brown says that extended test time is the most common forms of accommodation.

Any student who thinks they may qualify for the services offered by the office of Services for Students with Disabilities should contact Brown, or any staff member at of the office of Services for Students with Disabilities at (505) 646-6840.

ACANS Newscenter is published by the Association of Computing and Networking Services at New Mexico State University. If you would like to subscribe to the ACANS Newscenter, request further information, or to submit articles of interest contact ICT Strategic Relations, 646-4857  email: ict_sr@nmsu.edu