Nearly one in seven Americans has a significant disability; should they be exceptions? Through readings, guest lectures, videos, and projects we will explore the legal, moral, cultural, and technical issues and opportunities raised by this “minority you can join at any time”. We will focus on ways that computer technology can be used to mitigate the effects of disabilities and the sometimes surprising response of those we intended to help.

We will work together with teachers, experts and individuals with disabilities to develop ideas and content for new enabling technologies. Previous computer experience is helpful but not required; creativity, ability to think “outside the box”, and the desire to make the world a bit better are more important. We will use a Wizard-of-Oz approach (humans pretend to be a computer interface in order to evaluate its effectiveness) to allow creative non-programmers to show us computer geeks how the interfaces should work.

We will watch the controversial video “Sound and Fury” and read about the origins of Deaf culture. You will write about and discuss in class the relationship of Deaf culture to other civil rights movements. This will earn you the US diversity (US) tag in the new curriculum.

This is an approved Apples Service Learning Course (EE tag) and thus requires you to contribute a minimum of 30 hours of service during the semester. This year we will work with the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies to help develop literacy tools for students with disabilities. Your course project and some of your assignments will count toward this service requirement.

This course also carries the Communication Intensive (CI) tag. That means you’ll write and revise a term paper of at least 10 pages.

Your grade will be determined by:
  • Attendance, preparation, and participation (10%)
  • Online discussion posts (15%)
  • Your term paper (20%)
  • Assignments (25%)
  • Your project (30%)

Your attendance and participation are essential to this course. Two excused absences are allowed during the semester. Examples of excused absences include: family emergencies, and illness (with a doctor’s note). Let me know if you have anticipated absences during the semester .

Instructor: Gary Bishop
Meetings: Fred Brooks 008 Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 - 12:15