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Teaching Accessibility and Universal Design in Higher Education Curriculum: Benefits, Approaches and Resources

taught by: Howard Kramer & Lydia Harkey


In 2015 tech firms such as Yahoo, Facebook, Dropbox and LinkedIn announced that they will develop standard language that lets applicants ‘know that having accessibility knowledge is “preferred” to land a job. Due to the work of accessibility evangelists, the Americans with Disabilities Act and various lawsuits and settlements, we can witness a significant shift in the attitude towards accessibility by technology companies and large businesses and organizations. This shift is also occurring in higher education where we see many more institutions implementing digital accessibility plans and policies.

However, one area that is lagging behind is teaching about accessibility in college and university curriculum. Tech companies report that only about 7% of new hires who are recent graduates have knowledge on specific accessibility strategies and issues. Come to this session to learn how and why you should include accessibility and inclusive design topics in tech, media, computer science and other courses. Specific curriculum approaches and resources will be discussed. Specific curriculum approaches and resources will be discussed.

Practical Skills:

  • Overview on current state of (web) accessibility expertise in the field of web design
  • Benefits and talking points for teaching technology and design students about accessibility and Universal Design
  • Examples of curriculum approaches for teaching about accessibility in a web design class
  • Resources for acquiring more curriculum resources for teaching about accessibility and Universal Design
  • How audience can use and collaborate with 2 projects working to increase teaching about accessibility


  • None