Dr. Ian Pitt

University College Cork (UCC)

I originally trained and worked as a sound engineer, then joined Argus Press as a journalist writing on audio, Hi-Fi and related matters. I went back to college to take an MSc, and this led into a succession of research posts, mostly concerning the use of sound in human-computer interfaces and the development of digital systems for use by blind and visually-impaired people. I subsequently obtained a SERC-CASE industrial scholarship (funded by British Telecom) which enabled me to work for a DPhil. Following this I worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Institute for Simulation and Graphics, University of Magdeburg, Germany, before moving to Cork to take up a lecturing position in autumn 1997.

I was a member of the ENABLE consortium which was funded under the EU’s Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme. This project set out to examine the ways in which Information and Communication Technology is used to support lifelong-learning by adults with special needs, taking into account that much mainstream technology is now (at least partly) accessible and that there is no longer a clear distinction between mainstream and accessible technology. The outcomes included methodologies for evaluation and categorisation of ICT tools, a user-annotated database of ICT solutions with examples of good practice, and online training modules for those involved in delivering education to learners with special needs.

Research Interests: My main research interest concerns the development of systems and interfaces for people with special needs, particularly those who are blind or visually-impaired. This includes the development of accessible eLearning tools, particularly tools to allow blind students to more easily access and manipulate mathematical and scientific notation systems. I have published a number of papers in this area, and developed tools which I use in my own teaching. In recent years I have also become interested in the development of eLearning tools aimed at students with Dyslexia, and have published a number of papers in this area too.