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A Digital Book Based Pedagogy to Improve Course Content Accessibility for Students with and without Disabilities in Engineering or other STEMcourses (WIP)

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Conference

2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NEE Technical Session - the Best of NEE

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/41438

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Hongye Liu University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Hongye Liu joined the Illinois Department of Computer Science after years of research experience in Biomedical informatics primarily in the Boston Longwood Medical area including Harvard Medical School and its affiliated hospitals. She received her B. E. from the Univ. of Science and Technology of China and her PhD from MIT with thesis work on modeling for 3DPrinting. Her research focuses on Universal Design of Learning based course design and platform for inclusive learning especially for students with disabilities.

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Lawrence Angrave University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Lawrence Angrave is computer science teaching professor at University of Illinois who playfully creates and researches the use of new software and learning practices often with the goals of improving equity, accessibility, and learning.

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David Dalpiaz University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Chrysafis Vogiatzis University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Zhiyuan Xiao University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Sujit Varadhan University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Jeremy Louie University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Deepak Moparthi University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Jennifer Amos University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Abstract

A Digital Book-Based Pedagogy to Improve Course Content Accessibility for Students with and without Disabilities in Engineering and other STEM courses

Abstract

Accessibility of course content plays a critical role in student success. Among all college students, students with disabilities (SWD) face numerous additional challenges when digital content is inaccessible or difficult to use. The main contributions of this paper are two-fold; we examined different course delivery modalities to identify components that engage SWD and students without disabilities (SWOD) and secondly, introduce new accessibility features for digital book creation that we are implementing at the University of Illinois. Though an equitable, inclusive design for everyone is our ultimate goal, we also wanted to understand the needs, and preferences of SWDs in particular. A national survey instrument by the Collegiate Student Assessment of Textbooks (CSAT) to study student preferences was adapted and supplemented with questions that allowed students to optionally identify as SWD with a physical, mental and/or emotional disability. This survey enabled an analysis of the textbook preferences for engineering students with and without disabilities. Results from 50 SWD and 48 SWOD indicated that SWD and SWODs prioritize similar features. The main significant difference between SWD and SWOD were in the responses about how the instructor used the textbook and the importance of graphs in the textbook. The SWDs cared strongly about the accessibility features of a textbook. The top-five desired-features among all students were: 1) The book is low-cost or free, 2) There is a search feature for the book, 3) The book is up to date, 4) The examples used in the book matched the definitions, 5) The examples used in the book are relevant. Faculty were also surveyed using the same questions, providing insight into areas of alignment in preferences between students and faculty. Data from 10 faculty revealed similar textbook preferences: 1) The book is up to date, 2) Examples are representative of the definitions provided, 3) The book is low-cost or free, 4) The book is available online and as print copy, 5) The examples are relevant. Among all the textbook features, all students were least interested in being called on during class with questions from the book. Additionally, SWDs did not value features pertaining to how the instructor used the textbook. By understanding the needs of SWD and SWOD, a faculty member can be informed about techniques to increase content accessibility. Secondly, we identified new accessibility functionalities, including a visual table of contents, accessibility tags, and conditional publishing on students and instructors with a focus on meeting the needs of SWD. Recommendations and techniques are offered for instructors wishing to develop digital books to provide more accessible content delivery. These techniques may help improve learning outcomes and retention of course material for all students.

Liu, H., & Angrave, L., & Dalpiaz, D., & Vogiatzis, C., & Xiao, Z., & Varadhan, S., & Louie, J., & Moparthi, D., & Amos, J. (2022, August), A Digital Book Based Pedagogy to Improve Course Content Accessibility for Students with and without Disabilities in Engineering or other STEMcourses (WIP) Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/41438

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