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Accessibility, Usability, and Universal Design in Online Engineering Education

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Continuing Professional Development Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.141.1 - 26.141.18



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Paper Authors


Sheng-peng Wu University of Wisconsin at Madison

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Sheng-peng (Hank) Wu is an Instructional Support Project Assistant in Department of Engineering Professional Development, and also a PhD candidate in Digital Media program in Department of Curriculum and Instruction, UW-Madison. Wu's current projects focus on dynamic web design, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, computer language acquisition, and gamified learning management systems.

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   Accessibility  and  Usability  in  Online  Engineering  Education        Accessibility  and  usability  have  been  fundamental  concerns  for  instructional  designs  in  online  engineering  education.  With  the  prevalence  of  online  professional  development  programs  and  course  management  systems  (CMS),  the  delivery  of  accessible  and  user-­‐friendly  course  materials  becomes  crucial  to  a  successful  online  program.  Government  entities,  including  public  universities  like  UW-­‐Madison,  are  legally  bound  by  the  regulations  of  Section  508  of  the  Rehabilitation  Act  requiring  all  web  content  to  be  accessible  to  users  with  visual,  auditory,  or  learning  disabilities.    This  legal  obligation  strives  to  ensure  that  web  content  is  within  reach  of  all  users.  Universal  Design  principles  go  beyond  accessibility  requirements  and  advocate  that  designing  online  education  for  a  diversity  of  user  needs  and  circumstances  enhances  learning  for  everyone.    In  this  paper,  we  explore  key  accessibility,  usability,  and  Universal  Design  issues  to  see  how  the  human-­‐computer  interaction  (HCI)  experiences  in  distance  education  have  been  optimized  to  benefit  all  learners.    We  discuss  the  current  trends  and  potential  best  practices  of  effective  distance  teaching  and  learning  in  continuing  education  under  recommended  frameworks  from  Web  Content  Accessibility  Guidelines  (WCAG)  2.0.    We  will  share  practical  tips  and  lessons  learned  from  our  experiences  developing  online  Engineering  Master  Degree  programs.    Keywords:  Human-­‐Computer  Interaction  (HCI),  Accessibility,  Online  Engineering  Education       1  

Wu, S. (2015, June), Accessibility, Usability, and Universal Design in Online Engineering Education Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23480

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