CS2023: ACM/IEEE/AAAI Computer Science Curricula includes Teaching Accessibility

Richard Ladner

Approximately every ten years the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), IEEE-CS (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-Computer Science), and AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) convene to help revise the computer science curriculum guidelines for colleges and universities. The last curriculum guidelines were from 2013. The 2023 guidelines are still in beta version and soliciting feedback. The guidelines enumerate 17 different knowledge areas. For each knowledge area, there is a list of topics that should be covered, some of which are so important that every computer science (CS) major should know them (CS-Core) and the rest are part of the core for that knowledge area (KA-Core). The expectation is the a student coming out of a CS major will have competency in the CS-Cores and in some KA-Cores. Competency in a knowledge area includes not only the knowledge, but the skills to apply that knowledge and the professional dispositions to work in that knowledge area. The 2023 guidelines also cover certain curricular practices, such as the inclusion of accessibility into the CS curriculum.

I (Richard Ladner), Stephanie Ludi, and Robert Domanski wrote a short article titled “Teaching about Accessibility in Computer Science Education” for the new guidelines. In the article, we cover what accessibility means and why it is important to include accessibility topics in the CS curriculum. We describe different kinds of disabilities and how people with those disabilities access computers. We give some curricular examples of how accessibility and disabilities can be incorporated into various CS courses. The entire 2023 guidelines in beta version, including the article about teaching accessibility, are available for comments.