STEM Accessibility: Beyond Simply Making Things Accessible

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:30am in Penrose 1 on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • David Schwarte, Assistive Technology Specialist, Purdue University
  • Alex Mason, Assistive Technology Specialist, Purdue University

Session Details

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


Students in STEM fields need to have a method for independently interacting and engaging with information. This session discusses how processes were developed for an engineering student to independently complete homeworks, labs, and assessments.


It is very important to make STEM materials accessible to students with disabilities. It is also important to help students find a usable method for engaging with those materials and demonstrating their understanding of the information. This is important for classes, group work, and frequently required after graduation. In this instance, an engineering student needed to communicate text, math, and graphical information with others, both in classes and during an internship. Chatty Infty, Tiger Designer, and a graphical Braille embosser are tools to accomplish this.


  1. Consider how the STEM student will engage and interact with materials, not just make the materials accessible
  2. Consider the importance of the student’s need for independently communicating complex STEM information.
  3. how a student was able to interact with class materials and how this may be done in other circumstances

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Faculty Development & Support, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning

Speaker Bio(s)

David Schwarte

David Schwarte works as an Assistive Technology Specialist for Purdue University’s Assistive Technology Center, which is an element of Information Technology at Purdue. He consults with the Purdue University Disability Resource Center, in order to provide up-to-date assistive technology to the students. Similarly, he consults with the university’s Human Resource Department in order to better provide assistive technology to the university and its staff. He is an active member of the Web Accessibility Committee.

Alex Mason

Alex Mason works as an Assistive Technology Specialist with the Consulting & Training group at Purdue University. He provides workshops and consultations for faculty and staff to ensure their classroom materials are accessible. He also spearheads system-wide accessibility improvements and awareness through all possible avenues. Before working with the Consulting & Training group, Alex worked for almost a decade in Purdue’s Disability Resource Center, gaining valuable experience in many facets of disability services and accessibility.