Case For Adding Accessibility in Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Curriculums

Presented at 11:15am in Gov Square 14 (Lab) on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



  • Caroline Hart, Undergraduate Student, University at Buffalo (SUNY)

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Accessibility should be part of an Undergraduate's education within the field of Computer Science. Students who hold negative views about adding accessibility to the curriculum tend to hold ableist views on why accessibility is required. Students are extremely unlikely to learn these skills on their own without any formal education.


Equitable access is a concept essential to the way people with disabilities interact with technology. Undergraduate students enrolled in the University at Buffalo's (UB) Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE department) were surveyed for their opinions on whether accessibility should be integrated into the department's curriculum. The study yielded positive views on accessibility, as well as concerning opinions regarding the necessity for accessibility. The research was conducted to collect information regarding student understanding of accessible design when not instructed on accessibility topics. Results show students tend to believe designing for disability is not their burden, even in cases where they are encouraged to consider inclusion. The lack of accessible mainstream technologies available to disabled users verifies this. The Undergraduate CSE department must establish instruction on accessibility topics as part of its curriculum.


  1. Promoting inclusion and diversity is not sufficient for creating accessible designs.
  2. Informing students of how to account for disabled & non-disabled users alike leads to more mainstream designs.
  3. Universities have a legal obligation to provide fully accessible materials.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Caroline Hart

Pronouns: they/them/theirs || she/her/hers

I am an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo, currently studying Computer Engineering. I've personally observed many ableist perspectives within the field of Computer Science and Engineering, and I am passionate about teaching my undergraduate peers the importance of accessible design.