Responses to the Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2004

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Complete in a timely manner the data gathering and analysis currently being undertaken by the Braille Committee and determine the most appropriate way to incorporate the findings into the APH strategic plan.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: The data gathered has resulted in a proposal to the U.S. Department of Education for a 5-year grant, "Braille Textbook Improvement Project." While the current strategic plan will not be amended, we anticipate developing a tactical plan in 2006 that will focus on braille, including NIMAC, ATIC, and Accessible Tests.

    Contact: Tuck Tinsley

  2. Continue active involvement in the development and promotion of best practices in the area of tactile graphics.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: Recognizing that APH is regarded as an authority in the areas of braille and tactile graphics, the company formed its Tactile Graphics Committee in 2004 to make sure all tactile pictures produced in-house meet the same standards of quality and readability. This subcommittee, an offshoot of the Braille Committee, involves staff from all areas within APH that deal with tactile graphics, and has recently submitted its first recommendations to its "parent" group.

    Product development in the area of tactile graphics continues to reflect a commitment to tactile reading and exploration skills, especially with young blind children. Major ongoing projects will result in the availability of new early learning products this year, thus adding to the tactile training emphasis APH provides.

    Project leaders and other staff continue to make and attend presentations on tactile design and tactile learning. As an example, the term "graphic literacy," or "graphicacy," used by a British consortium of early educators with whom APH has been communicating, is the basis of a presentation staff plan to make at the upcoming Literacy Conference in December of 2005.

    Contact: Will Evans/Fred Otto

  3. Develop "quick reference" guides (Braille and print) for Studio Recorder and Book Port and make them available for download from the APH website.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Book Port now ships with print and Braille quick reference cards, and the source files for each are available from the website and as part of the documentation.

    It was decided that supplying such a card for Studio Recorder would not be in the best interest of the user or the programming staff for the following reasons:

    1. The menus already act as a quick reference guide that is interactive. Each menu option provides the name of the command, its hot key, and a brief explanation of its purpose in the status line when that menu item is highlighted.
    2. Putting such a card into print and Braille would make it very difficult to change the software.

    Contact: Larry Skutchan

  4. Consider centralizing the entire textbook ordering process for both large print and Braille, into ATIC, as an expanded "textbook department".

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: A new large print textbook order form has been created and distributed in hard copy and also is electronically available on the website. This form covers both production methods available at APH, instead of requiring different forms for our different production processes. In addition, we have created an email address for all large print questions and inquiries (largeprint@aph.org). We have also established a central delivery location for all large print textbook orders. These efforts have been implemented, and we have other changes in process.

    Contact: Jane Thompson/Julia Myers

  5. Explore the possibility of using unexpended Federal Quota funds to support ATIC Braille transcription, including tactile graphics.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Funds will be used as needed.

    Contact: Tuck Tinsley/Bob Brasher

  6. Utilize the information in the APH Strategic Plan for Product Development and Management to determine the most efficient and effective use and distribution of APH resources.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Goal IV of the 2003-2004 Tactical Plan was "To establish and implement a comprehensive set of processes, criteria, and cycles through which APH assures that its selection, development, and range of educational products are founded upon field-established, experienced-based priorities." These have been established and implemented. The March/April in-house newsletter, In Touch, is titled, "Ideas to Products: Navigating the APH Production Process." It is part one of a two-part series on this subject. Copies will be provided to members of EPAC at the April meeting.

    Contact: Tuck Tinsley

  7. Expand the number of product surveys that are web-based.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Web based surveys have been implemented in the areas of tactile graphics, early childhood literacy, and science.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley

  8. Continue to refine the electronic communication to Ex Officio Trustees—for example, new product announcements (Braille Rap song) and clarification of intended audience.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: We will continue to evolve the process of communications with Ex Officio Trustees and other publics. The electronic APH News list continues to grow and we have repositioned it on the company website to attract additional traffic. The News always promotes the latest products as well as highlighting others.

    EOTs are sent the electronic link to the News separately from the expanded list, as are University staff, so that specific issues/items can be targeted in a more direct way through accompanying email messages.

    Contact: Bob Brasher/Scott Blome

  9. Continue the work noted in the response to the 2003 committee report in the area of benchmarks and standards.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Project leaders have been instructed to use national standards as appropriate, and a collection of national standards is systematically maintained and updated.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley

  10. Adhere to an established timeline for the Patterns series revision.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: On 4/11/05 and 4/13/05 production meetings were held to establish revised deadlines for the Patterns Kindergarten Level Prototype. Field testing for the fall of 2005 remains the targeted deadline, with the Kindergarten Level materials targeted for sale in the fall of 2006. We have an ambitious goal that the remaining 2 levels, First Grade and Second Grade, will follow in the fall of 2007 and the fall of 2008 respectively.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley

  11. Consider creating print versions of the remainder of the Patterns library series.

    Status: Not Under Consideration at This Time

    Brief Clarification: Inge Formenti, Resource Services Librarian, has spent more than 100 hours since October 2004 tracking down copyright holders and securing permissions for the 99 literary pieces for a print version of the Patterns Library instructor’s guide with only a 28% success rate.

    The issues:

    • Much of the material is quite old, and the copyrights in many cases have changed hands multiple times.
    • A number of copyright holders have died, or cannot be located.
    • In many cases, the original work was edited by APH and copyright holders do not wish to grant rights for their original work to be edited or altered during reproduction.
    • Tracking down "orphan works" (copyrighted works whose owners are difficult or impossible to locate) is so daunting that the US Copyright Office has opened public comment on ways to resolve this problem.
    • Much of this supplemental reading material is quite old and would not necessarily be selected today.

    Our recommendation is to begin selecting quality literary materials along with copyright permissions. We feel that students will be better served with high quality materials for which we can obtain clear rights.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley/Julia Myers

  12. Complete the work of incorporating the Cortical Visual Impairment web material as a part of the APH website.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: The CVI website was created with the assistance of Dr. Chris Roman-Lantzy and APH’s Tristan Pierce and Tessa Wright, and was launched on September 1, 2004. The site will continue to evolve—content will be added or revised on an ongoing basis. The site will continue to present various points of view on CVI.

    Contact: Scott Blome

  13. Produce instructional materials to highlight ways to use APH products with children with CVI.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: Dr. Roman-Lantzy is preparing a DVD for physicians, families, and educators to provide an overview that is focused on the interests of each group. This will be a three part DVD and will be approximately 15-25 minutes for each of the three audiences.

    Contact: Ralph Bartley/Chris Roman-Lantzy

  14. Consider the addition of a web-casting feature to expand the impact of APH trainings and workshops.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: The Web casting feature has been successfully implemented in a variety of presentation formats. Examples of these different formats include a "Technology Products Presentation" for the CEC Conference in North Carolina, a two-part "Book Port Hands-On Training" for the Los Angeles County Department of Education, and a "State-Wide Informational Presentation" on how to order textbooks for educators throughout Kentucky.

    Contact: Maria Delgado/Janie Blome

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