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Universal Design: Implications for Computing Education

This article summarizes the history and development of Universal Design (UD), references research and practices that support the UD approach, provides examples of the strategies that apply UD to instruction and assessment, and recommends topics for future research. Although the application of UD to teaching and learning is in its infancy, the potential of UD to improve computing instruction should not be ignored. Further research could test the efficacy of specific UD practices in promoting learning in computing fields.

Sheryl Burgstahler, University of Washington, Seattle

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It took me several years of struggling with the heavy door to my building, sometimes having to wait until a person stronger came along, to realize that the door was an accessibility problem, not only for me, but for others as well. And I did not notice, until one of my students pointed it out, that the lack of signs that could be read from a distance at my university forced people with mobility impairments to expend a lot of energy unnecessarily, searching for rooms and offices. Although I have encountered this difficulty myself on days when walking was exhausting to me, I interpreted it, automatically, as a problem arising from my illness (as I did with the door), rather than as a problem arising from the built environment having been created for too narrow a range of people and situations.

Susan Wendell, author of
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability