MFA Thesis Advising 2020: Zeinah Zahir

I had a fantastic time serving with Diane Derr and Rab McClure on Zeinah Zahir’s MFA committee and can’t wait to see what happens next with this meaningful project! Zeinah’s thesis proposes concrete ways to capitalize on visually impaired students’ enhanced abilities through other intact senses like touch, sound, taste, or smell.

Thesis Title: Sensory Substitution, Key to Inclusive Learning

Abstract: Visually impaired students, in primary education, encounter unique challenges while learning creative skills, exploring artistic expression, and developing problem-solving skills, because so much instructional content is delivered visually. Sensory substitution—an approach that replaces visual information with feedback from other intact senses like touch, sound, taste, or smell—provides an opportunity to address those challenges. Through the use of sensory substitution, this thesis proposes concrete ways to capitalize on the enhanced abilities of visually impaired primary school students. The research outcome of this thesis is a system of templates that puts these enhanced abilities to work for visually impaired students, to support them while they learn creative skills and practice problem-solving in a classroom setting. Each template contains a lesson that can be learned by using the process of paper quilling. The templates work equally well for sighted and visually impaired students, since all will be able to understand the lesson by using the sense of touch, as they learn by making.

First Advisor: Diane Derr
Second Advisor: Denielle Emans
Third Advisor: Rab McClure

Read the full thesis document at: