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HuskyADAPT: A Project-based Accessible Design Course (Experience)

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34739

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34739

Download Count

18

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Paper Authors

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Dianne Grayce Hendricks University of Washington

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Dr. Dianne Hendricks is a Lecturer in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering and the Director of the Engineering Communication Program at the University of Washington. She designs and teaches courses involving universal design, technical communication, ethics, and diversity, equity and inclusion. She co-founded HuskyADAPT (Accessible Design and Play Technology), where she mentors UW students in design for local needs experts with disabilities. She also leads STEM outreach activities for the UW community and local K-12 students involving toy adaptation for children with disabilities. Dianne holds a PhD in Genetics from Duke University, and BS in Molecular Biology and BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Anat Caspi P.E. The Taskar Center for Accessible Technology

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Dr. Anat Caspi is director of the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology housed by the Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Caspi received her PhD from the Joint Program in BioEngineering at University of California, Berkeley & UCSF. Her research interests are in the areas of ubiquitous computing and data science. Caspi is interested in ways by which collaborative commons and cooperation can challenge and transform computing disciplines, and in particular, translation and deployment of technology to benefit individuals with disabilities.

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Heather A. Feldner University of Washington

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Heather Feldner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington. She received her BS in Human Biology, Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Marquette University, PhD in Disability Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed a postdoctoral research position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. Heather has a special interest in user-centered design and participatory research, and has been a lab member of the GoBabyGo program, which creates custom safety and accessibility modifications to commercially available battery powered toy ride-on cars for children with disabilities, since 2012. Heather's research focuses on investigating the impact of traditional and alternative mobility technologies on the experiences of people with disabilities and their families, and the direct and indirect influences of physical and social environments, technology design, industry, and disability orientation on those experiences. She is a faculty advisor for the Husky ADAPT student organization and a co-instructor in the Husky ADAPT design course series.

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Molly Y. Mollica University of Washington

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Molly Mollica earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. Her engineering education research focuses are in service learning, increasing diversity in engineering, and adapting toys for children with diverse abilities. Her bioengineering research focuses are in thrombosis mechanics, mechanobiology, and DNA origami nanotechnology.

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Shawn M. Rundell University of Washington

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Shawn M. Rundell, PT, DPT is a pediatric physical therapist and clinical teaching therapist at the University of Washington in the Division of Physical Therapy. She has experience working with individuals with a wide variety of neurological diagnoses across their lifespan and feels strongly that everyone should have access to toys, mobility and their environment to enhance their play skills and social interactions.

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George Zatloka Design Research Consultant

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Jennifer Mankoff University of Washington

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Jennifer Mankoff is the Richard E. Ladner Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on accessibility, health and inclusion. Her work combines a combination of critical thinking and technological innovation. She strives to bring both structural and personal perspectives to her work. For example, her recent work in the intersection of mental health and discrimination uses sensed data to explore how external risks and pressures interact with people’s responses to challenging moments. Similarly, her work in fabrication of accessible technologies considers not only innovative tools that can enable individual makers but also the larger clinical and sociological challenges to disseminating and sharing designs. Jennifer received her PhD at Georgia Tech, advised by Gregory Abowd and Scott Hudson, and her B.A. from Oberlin College.

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Katherine M. Steele University of Washington

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Dr. Steele is an associate professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. She received her BS in engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and MS and PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She is the head of the Ability Lab, dedicated to designing new tools and techniques to improve human ability through engineering, and also a leader of AccessEngineering to enable individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in engineering. Dr. Steele previously worked in multiple hospitals as an engineer, including The Children's Hospital of Colorado, Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

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Abstract

In this experience report, we document the design and implementation of a project-based accessible design course, HuskyADAPT (Accessible Design and Play Technology), which emphasizes empowerment, independence, and community participation while promoting student engagement with local community members with disabilities and their allies as co‐designers and needs experts.

Our experience is relevant to engineering educators who value diversity, equity, and inclusion because the HuskyADAPT course (1) promotes an inclusive culture in the College of Engineering, (2) highlights the positive social impact of engineering, and (3) uses a participatory design framework to engage with local needs experts, including people with disabilities and organizations that support people with disabilities.

HuskyADAPT is an example of integrating accessibility into a design course, which aligns with the recent addition of accessibility in the ABET definition of engineering design [1]. Course topics include: (1) disability studies, (2) universal design, (3) participatory design, (4) the human centered design process, and (5) prototyping. Learning objectives include: (1) Describe introductory concepts of disability studies and how they relate to engineering practice. (2) Engage in and evaluate the co‐design process with community members with disabilities. (3) Identify the principles of accessible design and how they benefit diverse communities. (4) Devise an action plan to promote inclusivity and accessibility in engineering practice.

In addition to accessible design, the course is focused on service learning and thus highlights the positive social impact of engineering, which is especially important to underrepresented students when choosing a career [2,3]. Furthermore, engineering classes or projects with clear service components commonly attract students from underrepresented groups [4,5].

Each of the first two offerings of the course had an enrollment of approximately 20-25 undergraduate and graduate students, with teams of 3-6 students that each worked with one needs expert on a single project. This paper describes several student projects, including: (1) tablet-based application to keep track of daily tasks, in collaboration with a local 12-year-old girl with brain injury; (2) accessible climbing wall for adults with cognitive disabilities, in collaboration with Outdoors for All, a national organization that provides accessible recreational activities [6]; and (3) wearable sensor solution to track hand motion with a 3D-printed partial palm prosthetic designed by e-NABLE, a global community of volunteer prosthetic makers [7].

To support effective communication with needs experts, we emphasize to the students the importance of listening and using inclusive language. To support prototyping and best practices, students have access to a makerspace and are mentored by faculty and an independent design consultant. In addition to design journals and weekly reflections, teams give presentations in class and present posters at an end-of-quarter inclusive design showcase. Feedback on the course has been positive, and we will present assessment data including student feedback, instructor observations, and excerpts of student work.

In conclusion, the HuskyADAPT course provides opportunities for students to engage in accessible design, which (1) promotes an inclusive culture, (2) highlights the positive social impact of engineering education, and (3) encourages engagement with local community members with disabilities and their advocates.

Hendricks, D. G., & Caspi, A., & Feldner, H. A., & Mollica, M. Y., & Rundell, S. M., & Zatloka, G., & Mankoff, J., & Steele, K. M. (2020, June), HuskyADAPT: A Project-based Accessible Design Course (Experience) Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34739

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