Teaching About Accessibility: A Promising Practice for Integrating Accessibility Topics in Computing and IT Courses

The Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing) leads activities to increase the participation of people with disabilities, including veterans, in computing and information technology (IT) postsecondary education and career fields. Activities for educators and employers are designed to build awareness of universal design and accommodation strategies, and to aid in recruiting and supporting students with disabilities through the development of inclusive programs and education on promising practices.

On November 13, 2018 in Westminster, CO. AccessComputing-sponsored a capacity building institute (CBI) that was held as part of the Accessing Higher Ground (AHG) conference. At this one-day CBI, participants shared and learned about how accessibility topics can be integrated into computing/IT courses and how faculty in these fields can be encouraged to include accessibility topics in their courses. Promising practices and resources were shared by multiple presenters with diverse backgrounds. Teaching about accessibility in postsecondary computing education will result in a high tech workforce able to design and develop technology usable for a wide audience, including individuals with disabilities. 

Promising practices shared at the CBI included:

  • Introduction to Universal Design
  • Implications of Assistive Technology to the Universal Design of Websites and Software
  • Accessibility as a Marketable Job Skill
  • Teach Access Resources on Teaching Accessibility
  • Accessibility Innovations Matter
  • Accessibility Web and App Development
  • Accessible Design Approaches
  • Accessibility in General Courses
  • Accessibility Capstone Courses
  • Engage Students in Conversations About Accessibility and Disability
  • Utilize Resources on Campus
  • Web Accessibility-Related Resources: Online Resources and Books
  • Accessibility in a Web Design and Development Course
  • Integrating Accessibility into a Web Development Course
  • Go Where the Students Go
  • Web Accessibility and Design

Summaries of presentations, panels, and discussion outcomes can be found in the proceedings for the Teaching About Accessibility in Computing and IT Courses (2018).

AccessComputing is led by the Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering, the Information School, and the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington (UW). The project is funded by the Computer and Information Science and Education (CISE) program of the National Science Foundation (grant # CNS-1539179). For more information visit AccessComputing.