Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Minorities in Engineering
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 . 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 ; 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 .
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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