Adding universal design in ICT student curricula
- Oslo and Akershus University
- Country of Implementation
- Northern Europe
- First published
“We educate, innovate, and create new knowledge in universal design to promote equal access to ICT for everyone.” Ms. Weiqin Chen, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
The Universal Design of ICT programmes attempts to promote equal opportunities for all persons by removing barriers to the use of ICT through raising awareness, creating new knowledge and ensuring competent ICT professionals. The program adopts the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) as a guide for implementation. Universal design relates to accessibility – enabling persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The project uses active learning approaches to ensure that all students studying technology gain knowledge on the universal design of ICT. Active learning involves student-centred teaching methods and adaptive and individualized support. At the graduate level universal design is a requirement for all technology students; in order to graduate from the Master’s programme, technology students must conduct applied research in the area of universal design as part of their thesis. The faculty and students also cooperate with regional, national, and international stakeholders, such as NGOs, government agencies, businesses, and other research and educational institutions. The programme actively recruits students from around the world with diverse social, cultural, and educational backgrounds. This approach enriches the scope and quality of the programme and provides an opportunity for students to act as ambassadors of universal design. In order to increase the rate of employment of the graduates, NGOs, government agencies, industries, and disability organizations are actively involved in both undergraduate and graduate projects.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Projections indicate that enrolment will continue to increase over the coming three years. In addition, efforts will be made to reduce attrition and increase employment rates among graduates. The faculty continues to expand: in 2015 three full-time permanent positions were awarded in addition to several contract positions. The programme can be cost-effective and easily implemented in other countries. The primary recommendation is to make computer science education interdisciplinary and collaborative. In most contexts, the funds already exist, and implementation becomes a matter of overcoming institutionalized biases and utilizing expenses in a different way.