CAVI 2014 Semester 1 Course Offerings

Cisco Academy For the Vision Impaired, also known as CAVI

A leading technology school for people who are blind or vision impaired around the world

We are glad you’ve stopped by. Online learning can level the playing field for people who are blind or vision impaired wanting to enter the computer and technology field. Local schools may have excellent course offerings, but transportation issues, higher costs, and lack of accessibility of the courseware hold some people back. CAVI has spent a decade working to bridge that gap for our students. You’ll find links to our course offerings and enrolment forms on this page as well as links that tell you more about who we are and what we do. You will also find an easy to use contact form in case you have any questions.

If you’ve ever wondered if people who are blind could fix computers, design websites, run Linux servers, build networks or work with audio production, you’re in the right place. You can learn to do those things too. Read on…

CAVI provides accredited Cisco Academy courses, computer skills courses, and employment opportunities for people who are totally or partially blind. The instructors have years of experience in their technical field and are blind as well. Many of our students gain employment after graduation, while others are focused on pursuing skills related to a hobby.

Please visit the CAVI Training site to learn about the academy or visit our wiki for FAQs and complete descriptions of our courses.

For more information

For enrollment and general CAVI information,
email <>

2014 Semester 1 Course Offerings

The Academy is offering several courses this term, both familiar favourites and brand new courses. There is something for everyone here. Students are welcome to enrol in any course they like in any order they like unless a course has a prerequisite. [Please note that if a course has fewer than 10 students by the end of the enrolment period, that course may not run this term.] Enrolments are open until January 31st, 2014. Classes will begin in February.

IT Essentials
Learn how to configure, repair, and install PC hardware and software This course provides a comprehensive overview of computer fundamentals and an introduction to advanced concepts. It is intended for people who wish to pursue careers in IT and gain practical knowledge of how a computer works. This course prepares students to take the A+ certification exam if they wish, and students who complete the course may find work as a technical support representative. At the end of this course, you should be able to:
•  Describe and identify the internal components of a computer
•  Assemble a computer system
•  Install an operating system
•  Troubleshoot using system tools and diagnostic software
•  Connect computers to the Internet
•  Share resources in a networked environment
•  Install and troubleshoot peripherals such as printers and scanners

Building Websites With HTML 5
Learn to build your own website from scratch
This course is designed for both those who are new to HTML as well as those people who want to upgrade their HTML skills to use HTML 5. HTML is the basic building block of websites. Students will learn to build a website from the ground up using practical techniques that work for vision impaired people. Topics covered include:
•  Choosing a web address and web hosting provider
•  Using an FTP program and HTML editor
•  Adding text, links, and lists to your website
•  Choosing a color scheme for your site
•  Adding audio and video content to your pages
•  Adding images to your site
•  Adding a shopping cart and contact form to your site
•  Using security measures to protect your visitors and your site

Getting the most out of Word Press
This course will show you how to configure the Word Press content management system from Scratch and how to maximize the usability for both accessibility and functionality.

Course Overview

Hello. I’m Sean Randall, and I’m excited about teaching students how to program using the PHP scripting language. Working with PHP can be a lot of fun, and it is a powerful language as well. I’ll be teaching students how to create web applications that work in a wide range of settings, from business to online games.
You need to know HTML and CSS to take this course. We strongly encourage students to complete the Intro to HTML and CSS course before taking this class. However, if you have comparable knowledge gained elsewhere, we will review your application.
Here’s a description of what we’re going to learn this term.

Block One
The first block of the course would cover theoretical groundwork, including topics such as:
what is PHP? What does “PHP” mean and what is it used for?
how it differs from and can be used inside of HTML, how it works outside of a web page, and how it can be used to generate alternate media (such as audio, images and XML).
The dialogue between browser, web server and PHP, and what it means to execute code on the client or server.
The need for a local web server and how one can be obtained and configured with relative ease for local development, with emphasis on security implications.
Practically, at the end of the first part of the course, a student should:
Have a basic understanding of PHP and the items mentioned above.
Have a working web server installed on their local machine or network, and the ability to get information into it (from a file manager and text editor), and out of it, with a web browser.

Block Two
The second block of the course introduces programming in PHP, where we will:
Start with a hello world program to test that PHP is properly installed and configured.
Examine a few small scripts, to learn about variables, decision making and iteration, data input and output and program flow.
Pseudocode a small PHP application; perhaps a “higher or lower guess the number” game or similar, something taking input from a form in a small way and processing it.
All this will be written out and designed in a Human readable form, rather than written directly in PHP to start.
Practically, at the end of the second part of the course, the student should:
Understand when we are working in or out of PHP.
Recognise variables, be able to identify their type, and be able to read if statements and various types of loop so as to understand what a program is doing.
Understand the benefit of designing a program on paper before you begin to code and have brainstormed and designed their first prototype application.

Block Three
The third block of the course will cover the implementation, debugging, testing and analysis of the design from block two. In this part of the course I aim to let the student’s drive the progress, acting as a reference they can call on, writing code under their direction, debugging and analysing code they write themselves and providing best practice guidelines as issues arise (on matters such as minimising branching code, variable names, input validation etc. – all issues which will inevitably arise due to the nature of the software design).
Practically, at the end of the third part of the course, the student should:
Have designed and written, or helped to write, a fully-functional PHP application.
Found and fixed bugs in the program so that it runs and performs as expected.
Have learned about input validation, the implications of not using it and how to implement it themselves.
Critiqued the initial design, finding strengths and weaknesses, and taking lessons away to make future design and development more effective.

Block Four
The fourth and final block of the course will encourage the creation or examination of a number of scripts to add functionality to existing websites. Students will be given a shortlist of such snippets and encouraged to think of their own as well. These might include:
A Countdown to a specific date or time
adding a webmaster’s Skype status to a contact page
Producing random or rotating data, i.e. a random quote, fortune cookie, word of wisdom etc.
A poll or voting system
Charting visitor statistics (by country, browser, operating system etc).
A visitor’s guestbook
a contact form
a podcast generator

Please feel free to suggest more!
As a class, we will design and implement several of these suggestions, or examine some already created and published online. Using our local development environment as a sandbox away from the public web and learning to read code written by others we will also gain an understanding of script security essential for publishing our scripts to the world and using code by others.
This sort of work will cement our understanding of PHP structure and methodology, providing students with an excellent level of knowledge to take their study further and use PHP themselves. at this stage, I will also be spending time on individual student projects, as many students by this time will want to design their own ideas.
Practically, at the end of the forth block, a student should:
Have designed and implemented several of the shortlisted projects.
Have examined code written by others to learn how it works, but more importantly to be able to see exactly what it does to be sure it’s safe to run.
Complete the course by creating something of their own; which can be from the short list (i.e. a contact form, a guestbook etc), or be well on their way to doing something else they want to create.

How To Enroll
Does this course sound like fun to you? Have you completed our Intro to HTML and CSS course, or do you have comparable knowledge? If you’re a new student, your next step is to grab a copy of our enrollment application. Fill out the application and email it to us at the address given on the application. If you are a returning CAVI student, please just send us an email at caviinfo at ciscovision dot org letting us know you want to enroll. I’m looking forward to seeing you in class this term.

Audio Editing Fundamentals
This course teaches audio editing to those of all skill levels. By the end of the course, Basic concepts relating to audio processing are taught as well as tips and techniques to make your audio production sound good. The course has had a refresh this term and is now split into two tracks. Students may choose whether they’d like to learn single track editing with Goldwave, or multitrack editing with Reaper.

Computers 101 For Mac or PC
This course is aimed at novice computer users. It will begin with basic computer use and develop a student’s ability to use a computer productively and confidently. By the end of the course, students will be able to:
• Know how to use their screen reader, both the basics of getting it to sound the way they want and the more advanced features that make a computer infinitely more useable.
• Learn the finer points of how to use an operating system. [File management, dialogs and controls, settings, customization, and navigation.
• Learn how to manipulate text and work with various document types. [Copy/paste, using a word processor, fonts, printing, and the beginnings of using spreadsheets.]
• Learn how to use the Internet effectively. [Surfing, searching, and being secure.]
• Know how to use the computer to be social. [Email, Skype, and IM.]
• Other topics of interest, based on student input.

Introduction to Linux
The course will teach the basics of the Linux command-line operating system.

Microsoft Office
This brand new course will teach how to use MS Office with a screen reader, from the basics through to more advanced features to make documents and presentations functional and appealing.

For more information

For enrollment and general CAVI information,
email <>