Universal Design in the Curriculum

It’s important to integrate relevant disability, accessibility, and universal design content into engineering and computing courses to increase knowledge and skills among future engineering and computing professionals. This will lead to a workforce that is aware of and more capable of addressing accessibility barriers.


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Example Courses

  • 6.811: Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology (PPAT) is a semester-long, project-based course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focused on the design and engineering of customized assistive devices for people with disabilities. Additional information about PPAT can be found at MIT Open CourseWare.
  • Perspectives in Assistive Technology, at Stanford University, explores the design, development, and use of technology that benefits people with disabilities and older adults.
  • Assistive Technology Design Projects, a capstone design course at Duke University, pairs students with health care professionals to build custom assistive, recreational, or therapeutic devices for people with disabilities in the local community.
  • The Accessibility Capstone in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, has students work in teams to create new applications on cell phones that allow persons with disabilities to accomplish tasks that would be difficult to impossible to do without their applications.
  • The Adaptive Toy Project at the University of North Florida has taught a special topics course focused on engineering innovative adaptive toy technologies to help engage children with disabilities in play.
  • CSE 490 D: Introduction to Accessible Technology aka The Goals and Complexities of Designing All-inclusive, Cutting-edge, Technology Solutions, at the University of Washington, examines the ways in which technology can be both assistive and a potential barrier. Students are asked to consider the role of technology designers and engineers in designing for equity in a technology-laden society.
  • Investigating Normal at Olin College is a critical disability studies seminar housed in a design-build studio. Engineers and designers solve problems and ask questions—about normalcy, ability, and cultural ideas of the body.