A new Open Education Resources (OER) initiative from the nonprofit Teach Access aims to expand awareness of digital accessibility in higher education. Teach Access works with education, industry, and disability advocacy organizations to enhance students’ understanding of digital accessibility as they learn to design, develop, and build new technologies–has launched a
Built in collaboration with instructional design firm iDesign, the organization has launched Teach Access Curriculum Repository, which brings together more than 250 teaching resources to support teaching accessibility across a wide range of computer science, technology, and design programs.
“At a time when technology touches nearly every facet of our daily life and experiences, digital accessibility and inclusion is an education, civil rights, and an economic imperative,” said Kate Sonka, Executive Director of Teach Access. “This is about not just teaching students about the importance of accessibility–but equipping those future graduates to put the principles of accessibility and inclusion into practice as they look for internships and jobs.”
According to the CDC, 61 million adults–or roughly one in four adults–in the United States report living with a disability. However, despite increased demand for technologies that are adaptive to the needs of disabled people, most of the programs that educate future computer scientists, software engineers and product developers do not consistently teach students how to ensure that the products they create are accessible. One 2018 study found that only 50 percent of computer science and engineering programs at traditional universities in the United States had at least one professor teaching accessibility.
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