June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1037.1 - 15.1037.11
Results from an Interdisciplinary Service Learning Pilot Project Incorporating Universal Design Concepts for ADA Compliance
Engineering and engineering technology students need to become more socially aware and learn to think of the entire population that may use the products or equipment they design. One of the main objectives of this project was to demonstrate how products can be designed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and usable by all people. The concept of Universal Design has emerged as a key component of this effort. Universal Design involves the entire process from its initial conception to end use by thinking more inclusively of the entire population that will ultimately use the product, including those with disabilities. This paper describes the results of the first year's pilot project that was developed to teach students the Universal Design concepts within the confines of a senior design project for engineers and engineering technology undergraduate students. The students designed and developed a product that would be used by both the university's Disability Support Services (DSS) Office and the Center for Disability Studies and Universal (CDS) Access. This project included a service learning component while studying and incorporating the precepts of Universal Design. It also demonstrated how these types of projects could develop a whole new generation of engineers trained to better serve our entire population through the precepts of Universal Design. The outcomes and lessons learned from the first year of this pilot development project are also presented. Overall the project was a resounding success with a product designed that could be utilized by a wide variety of people with varying abilities and satisfied users of the product. Both the student's education and the public's awareness of how engineers can improve the lives of people were enhanced. Programs and projects of this type can be replicated and used as a model for other universities to incorporate in their degree programs.
How to design product of every type is a fundamental skill acquired by all engineering and engineering technology students during their undergraduate years. During this learning experience considerable time and effort is expended on the inclusion of features, physical size and shape, and meeting the design requirements. Other considerations typically include cost, style, safety, ecological, and other issues. However, little time is devoted to the end user. Their needs are often neglected.
Most products are designed for the “average user,” a mythical person that may not even exist. As a result, the use of many products by the general population is difficult if not impossible. One way to overcome this difficulty is to involve the end user in the actual design of the product. In this way, they can have a voice in how the product is designed and built from the very start of the project. The end user is no longer an afterthought, but rather an important participant in the entire design, development, and construction process.
Loendorf, W., & Richter, D., & Teachman, D. (2010, June), Results From An Interdisciplinary Service Learning Pilot Project Incorporating Universal Design Concepts For Ada Compliance Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16264
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: © 2010 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