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A Teaching Model for Teaching Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and Hearing Students with Course Accessibility and Real World Product Design

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Diversity Redefined: Nontraditional Views in Traditional Environments

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.120.1 - 24.120.13



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Paper Authors


Gary W. Behm Rochester Institute of Technology (CAST)

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Gary Behm is an Assistant Professor of the Engineering Studies department and Director of the Center on Access Technology Innovation Laboratory at RIT/NTID. He is a deaf engineer who retired from IBM after serving for 30 years. He received his BS from RIT and his MS from Lehigh University. His last assignment with IBM was an Advanced Process Control project manager. He managed team members in delivering the next generation Advanced Process Control solution which replaced the legacy APC system in the 300 mm semiconductor fabricator. Behm has fourteen patents and has presented over 30 scientific and technical papers at various professional conferences worldwide.

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Antonio Francisco Mondragon Rochester Institute of Technology/CINVESTAV

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Antonio F. Mondragon-Torres received the B.Sc. degree with honors from Universidad Iberoamericana,
Mexico City, Mexico, the M.Sc. degree from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City,
Mexico, and the Ph.D. degree (as a Fullbright-CONACYT scholarship recipient) from Texas A&M University, College Station; all degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1990, 1996, and 2002, respectively. From1988 to 1995, he worked in a telecommunications company TVSCOM, Mexico City, Mexico, designing teletext products, first as a Design Engineer and later as a Design Manager. In 1995, he joined the Mechanical and Electrical Department, Universidad Iberoamericana as an Associate Professor. From 2002 through 2008 he was with the DSPS R&D Center’s MobileWireless Communications Technology branch, Texas Instruments Dallas, TX and in 2008 he moved to the nanoMeter Analog Integration Wireless branch where he worked as Analog IP verification technical lead. In 2009 he worked for Intel Guadalajara, Design Center in Mexico as Front-End/Back-End technical lead. In 2009 he joined the Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology Department at the Rochester Institute of technology where he currently is a tenured track assistant professor. He is currently on a LOA working as a visiting professor at CINVESTAV in Guadalajara, Mexico. His research interests are analog and digital integrated circuit implementation of communications systems, and System-on-a-Chip methodologies.

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A Teaching Model for Teaching Deaf/Hard-of-hearing and Hearing Students with Course Accessibility and Real World Product DesignTeaching engineering for deaf/hard-of-hearing (D/HoH) students presents several challenges aswell as many rewards. For D/HoH students to be mainstreamed into a regular engineeringprogram presents a series of barriers that they need to overcome. D/HoH student’s learningcharacteristics are more like as foreign students since for them, written and spoken English istheir second language with a steep learning curve to learn it at the same time they assimilateengineering course material.Engineering course material is not developed or considers any type of learning accessibility toD/HoH students. While the university provides resources (such as e.g. sign language interpreters,note takers, real time captioning and specialized mentoring faculty), the instructor in theclassrooms sometimes are not suited for the learning environment of a D/HoH student. As anexample, during a regular lecture, D/HoH students have to be paying attention to the presentationslides while taking notes on the content written on the whiteboard, looking for instructor’sexpressions and at the same time understanding at the sign language interpreter’s messages.What’s even more challenging is that sign language is an idea oriented language not a verboseword by word interpretation.Given the above challenges, we are proposing modifications to courses, classroom environmentand overall D/HoH experience through an engineering program. We have several success storiesby guiding students through this new process with the access service support and departmentsinvolved. In addition, some D/HoH students had the opportunity to participate in cooperativeeducation learning at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Center on AccessTechnology (CAT) Innovation Laboratory, where students are working on real world design ofengineering products supervised by the faculty from Engineering Technology (ET) and NTIDdepartments.The experience and proposed modifications start at the freshman-level courses to the advancedsenior design projects. The objectives are to integrate team building skills, multidisciplinarycollaboration, and good engineering practices. Students have been so engaged developingproducts and they have had opportunities to present their work to small and large audiences suchas the university innovation festival which is a family and industry oriented event.Based on the author’s experiences in teaching, researching, supervising and collaborating withD/HoH students, we would like to present some success stories to build the framework to presentmodifications to be incorporated to courses, university infrastructure, personal mentorship andopportunities to make D/HoH succeed and build the skills for a fruitful career in differentengineering disciplines. Through the enhancement for the D/HoH students, all other hearingstudents will also benefit from it.

Behm, G. W., & Mondragon, A. F. (2014, June), A Teaching Model for Teaching Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and Hearing Students with Course Accessibility and Real World Product Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20012

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