Teaching about accessibility in computing courses

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Westminster II on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.



  • Sheryl Burgstahler, Director, Accessible Technology Services, University of Washington
  • Terrill Thompson, Accessible IT Consultant, University of Washington

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General 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—to address diversity and equity issues or 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.

Learn about 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. Presenters 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/universal design topics in their courses.
  3. IT faculty can benefit from the experiences of others and resources to undertake such efforts.

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 an IT accessibility consultant with Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington. He has published articles and is a well respected speaker locally, regionally and nationally.