Asee peer logo

Accessible Design Issues And Principles In The Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.133.1 - 6.133.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Robert Erlandson

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2525

Accessible Design Issues and Principles in the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

Robert F. Erlandson, Ph.D.

Enabling Technologies Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202


Ethical concerns and market potentials provide compelling reasons for the inclusion of accessible design issues and principles in undergraduate engineering programs. Federal laws, rules and regulations mandating accessibility to products, services, jobs and public places for people with disabilities, however, are the most pressing reasons for including accessible design material in undergraduate engineering programs. These laws, rules, and regulations impact all engineering design disciplines and cover the design spectrum from the assembly and manufacturing of products to consumer use of products and services.

Undergraduate engineering programs typically do not include material on accessible design. There are conflicting pressures on engineering curricula that affect the acceptance of these proposed additions to undergraduate programs. There is pressure to reduce the number of credit hours required for the Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree while concurrently there is pressure to include more new material. The competition among new material for inclusion into the undergraduate curriculum is intense, hence the question; “Why include material on accessible design?” If one concludes that it is important to include material on accessible design the question then becomes; ”How can this be done?

This paper addresses these two questions. First, a case will be made as to the importance of including accessible design issues and principles in the undergraduate engineering curriculum. Second, strategies will be presented as to how accessible design curriculum and educational material can be naturally included into existing course offerings.

Accessible Design

Accessible design means to design processes, products, and services so that as many people with as broad a spectrum of abilities as possible can access and use the processes, products, or services. Accessibility has economic and social dimensions in addition to human factors considerations. The cost of products and services determines their accessibility. The more expensive a product or service the fewer people who will have access. Societal values are made explicit by a nation’s laws. These laws are important because they provide a legal matrix that supports all other efforts.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society of Engineering Education

Erlandson, R. (2001, June), Accessible Design Issues And Principles In The Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8882

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015