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California State University, Long Beach
 

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APAcT

Alliance for Person-Centered Accessible Technologies

an IGERT program developed by ASU & CSULB

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Curriculum

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IGERT fellows selected to participate in APaCT will be trained as technology-adaptation-policy specialists. Fellows will be immersed in an integrated compendium of coursework including mandatory IGERT core courses, discipline core courses, electives and practicum and internships. The carefully balanced program of study assures that each fellow will receive adequate preparation and specialization in the primary discipline as well in as the IGERT concentration. In addition to IGERT core courses, each fellow will enroll in existing discipline core courses and electives to satisfy his/her home department’s PhD requirements. The trainees will witness first-hand the personal, environmental, and social barriers people with disabilities face as they attempt to achieve a high quality of life in home, school, and community, and as they pursue academic excellence in their respective disciplines.

Graduates will have a broad understanding of all aspects of person-centeredness, universal design, and access in disability technologies and practices; will demonstrate excellence in his or her specific discipline; have a working knowledge of interdisciplinary research and the connections between constituent areas; will have applied knowledge learned in real-world situations; and will be well equipped to make a significant contribution to society.

IGERT Fellows will learn through an integrated education-research-practice model consisting of six discrete components:

Education: Each fellow will complete an interdisciplinary set of coursework, with core courses, electives, and practical training, in one of the following programs at ASU: Computer Science, Bioengineering, Educational Studies and Science Policy; or at CSULB in the PhD program in Engineering.

Research training: Through mentoring, fellows will learn to carry out and lead research projects that merge technology, adaptation and policy aspects of disability research. The primary focus of research projects will be to provide roadmaps and solutions for person-centeredness and universal design and access in disability technologies and practices.

Applied learning: IGERT fellows will gain experience with practical aspects of research through internships in industry, federal/state government agencies, or with global academic partners over the course of their PhD program. Fellows will also formally interact with collaborators in institutions across the country and the world to obtain broader national and global perspectives.

Service learning: In collaboration with community partners and caregivers in Arizona and California, fellows will engage in activities involving individuals with disabilities, leading to a deeper understanding of their lives and learning. This will occur through structured course-level interactions, as well as informal yearly retreats.

Entrepreneurship, commercialization and global leadership: IGERT fellows will be exposed to pathways and contemporary issues related to entrepreneurship, commercialization, innovation and global leadership through regular workshops conducted within the innovation centers at ASU and CSULB. Fellows will also complete internships with start-up companies that address issues related to disabilities.

Teamwork and camaraderie: IGERT fellows will be expected to define their research activities in a manner that promotes inter-trainee collaborations across disciplines. The fellows will organize annual new trainee orientation programs and teambuilding activities in order to foster a strong sense of community and solidarity. The IGERT core courses, biweekly seminars/guest lectures, once-a-semester workshops, combined service learning activities, the research summit, and the annual retreats will bring the IGERT trainees together periodically.

Coursework

IGERT Curriculum Info Graphic

The faculty team has the expertise, commitment and institutional support to:

  1. use existing graduate courses (e.g. Introduction to Neural Engineering, Real-time Embedded Systems, Equity Issue in Science Education, Analysis of Socio-Technological Systems);
  2. develop new discipline courses if required (e.g. Multimodal Interface Design, Neurotrauma and Rehabilitation, Science Curricula for Students with Special Needs); and,
  3. incorporate components of existing education activities into new courses (e.g. components of a bioethics workshop offered by collaborator and bioethics expert Gregor Wolbring will be used in the course on legal and ethical aspects of disability).

Discipline Core Courses

APAcT IGERT fellows will be expected to complete core course requirements, as mandated by the home department. The specific courses will be selected in consultation with the student’s advising committee to maintain a balance between alignment and complementarity with their research activities.

IGERT Core Courses

Fellows from all participating disciplines will take the following four core IGERT courses (12 credit hours in fellow’s program of study, counted as electives):

Introduction to Disabilities: Overview of state, national and international approaches, service delivery, instructional strategies, research, policies and history associated with people with disabilities.

Overview of Disability Technologies: Survey of assistive, rehabilitative, preventive and interventional technologies and adaptations for a wide range of disabilities, assistive technology assessment methods, diagnosis, prescription, design process, and evaluation of outcomes.

Legislative, Ethical and Legal Aspects of Disabilities: Disability-related legislation and laws, disability rights, confidentiality, self-determination, right to life, and advocacy.

Human Factors and Person-centeredness: Topics include human sensory system, compensation for sensory impairments, multimodal interface design, person-centered product design, user preference elicitation and modeling, adaptive systems and adaptable systems, human factors, and ethnographic methods.

Electives

In addition to IGERT core courses, the trainee may choose from a pool of elective courses from core and contributing disciplines (including Mechanical, Aerospace and Electrical, Engineering, Design & Architecture Social Work, Social Transformation, STEM Education, Speech & Hearing, Human Evolution & Social Change, Life Sciences, Psychology, Health Sciences). These courses will be selected based on the advising committee’s input, as well as the home department’s guidelines on enrolling in courses from other disciplines. A sample pool of electives (consisting of courses already offered) is shown below.

Biomedical Engineering

  • Human Systems Neuroscience
  • Neurotrauma and Rehabilitation
  • Motor Behavior

Computer Science and Engineering

  • Human-centered Computing
  • Real-time Embedded Systems
  • Multimedia Information Systems

Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology (Science Policy)

  • Assessing Science Knowledge
  • Law, Science, and Technology
  • Advanced Bioethics
  • Uncertainty and Decision-making
  • Policy Analysis
  • Science and Engineering Ethics

Psychology

  • Basic Concepts of Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Social Psychology

Educational Studies

  • Science Curricula for Students with Special Needs
  • Effective Instruction in Science for Students with Special Needs
  • Equity Issues in Science Education
  • Issues and Foundations in Special Education

Design and Architecture

  • Collaborative Design and Development
  • Strategic Enterprise Innovation

Global Perspectives: Focused efforts will be undertaken to provide APAcT trainees with exposure to global perspectives and a sense of appreciation of diversity. While this program will not mandate international internships, we will encourage and support individual requests to obtain global experience, and make appropriate provisions with our collaborators for extended research and training visits.

An Annual IGERT Research Summit will be organized at the end of each academic year (April-May). Fellows will present their research and physically meet all other fellows from both ASU and CSULB in a common environment. This summit will include paper presentations, poster sessions and panel discussions so that faculty and fellows may discuss cutting-edge issues in disability research and the challenges faced in implementing person-centeredness.