Teaching about Accessibility in Computing and IT Courses: A Capacity-building Institute

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:00am in Cotton Creek I on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.



  • Sheryl Burgstahler, Director, Accessible Technology Services, University of Washington
  • Terrill Thompson, Technology Accessibility Specialist, University of Washington
  • Richard Ladner, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
  • Howard Kramer, PI/Accessibility Specialist, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Naomi Peterson, Professor, Central Washington University

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 5-6-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Learn how accessible/inclusive/universal design and other proactive design practices can be integrated within computing and IT courses and thus increase the pool of future computing and IT professionals that know how to develop accessible technology.


Many Accessing Higher Ground attendees—in part to address diversity and equity issues or to meet their campus obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and its 2008 Amendments—struggle to encourage IT companies to make their products accessible to individuals with disabilities. On the other hand, some companies are complaining that they cannot find computing and IT professionals that know how to design accessible products.

Presenters and panelists will share how accessibility/inclusive/universal design topics can be integrated into your computing/IT course or how you can encourage faculty in these fields to include these topics in their courses. They will bring in perspectives and promising practices from the field. Discussions will be facilitated to explore key issues related to promoting the teaching of inclusive design strategies in computing and IT courses at all levels, but particularly in postsecondary environments.

Resources will also be shared.


  1. It is important that IT companies hire professionals who know how to design accessible products.
  2. IT faculty can help meet this need by including accessible/inclusive/universal design topics in their courses.
  3. IT faculty can help meet this need by including accessible/inclusive/universal design topics in their courses

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Sheryl Burgstahler

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler founded and directs Accessible Technology Services, which includes the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and the IT Accessibility Team within UW-IT at the University of Washington (UW). These units promote (1) the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers and (2) the development of facilities, IT, services, and learning activities that are welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities through the application of a Universal Design (UD) Framework. ITAT focuses efforts at the UW; the DO-IT Center reaches national and international audiences with the support of federal, state, corporate, foundation, and private funds. Dr. Burgstahler is an affiliate professor in the UW College of Education. She developed and continues to teach a graduate course in applications of universal design in higher education at City University of New York.

Terrill Thompson

Terrill Thompson is technology accessibility specialist at the University of Washington, where his work is supported in part by AccessComputing, a project funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the participation of people with disabilities.

Richard Ladner

Richard E. Ladner is a Professor Emeritus in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington where he has been on the faculty since 1971. His current research is in the area of accessible computing which is an important subarea of human-computer interaction (HCI). He is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the NSF-funded AccessComputing Alliance that has the goal of increasing the participation of students with disabilities in computing fields. He is also a PI for the NSF-funded AccessCSforAll that helping K-12 teachers include students with disabilities in their computing classes. He is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) and the 2008 A. Nico Habermann Award. He is the winner of the 2014 SIGCHI Social Impact Award. He is the recipient of the 2016 SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility. He is the 2018 Stache Leadership Award from the Center on Disabilities at the California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He is an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow. He is a member of the Board of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT).

Howard Kramer

Mr. Kramer has worked in assistive technology, disability, information systems and accessible media for more than 25 years. From 1997-2012 he worked with Disability Services at CU-Boulder, establishing the Assistive Technology Lab, which serves students with disabilities needing specialized access. He is founder and coordinator for the Accessing Higher Ground Conference: Accessible Media, Web & Technology, and teaches courses on Universal Design at CU-Boulder.

Naomi Peterson

Dr. Naomi Jeffery Petersen (“NJP”) is Professor of Curriculum, Supervision, & Educational Leadership at Central Washington University. She teaches and researches topics related to assessment and instruction as well as professional development and dispositions. In addition to pedagogical innovation and analyses of teacher education, her academic agenda is infused with the intersection of environment, culture, and technology, including such diverse applications as watersheds, railroads and military history, visual literacy, and informal learning environments. She fosters collaborations across disciples, such as geography and public health. She cultivated the partnerships resulting in the launch of CWU’s interdisciplinary Accessibility Studies Program which she now directs.