Informatics Seminar Series
Spring Quarter 2023

Friday, June 2, 2023

“Including Disability and Accessibility in Computing Education”

Kristen Shinohara
Assistant Professor, School of Information
Rochester Institute of Technology

Computing education is charged with teaching future tech professionals skills and knowledge to innovate next generation technologies that will shape societies and futures to come. However, few computing students and fewer technology professionals identify as having a disability; meanwhile institutional, curricular, and academic infrastructure are ill-equipped to support disabled students and to educate future technologists about accessible technologies. Disabled innovators and accessible solutions spawn brilliant technical advances, and can only serve to benefit the future of tech. In this talk, I argue why it is important to include students with disabilities in computing, what can be done to improve support for disabled students, and how we can enhance computing education by including accessibility and accessible design.

Kristen Shinohara (Google Scholar) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the Rochester Institute of Technology where she co-directs the Center for Accessibility and Inclusion Research (CAIR) Lab. Kristen’s research is at the intersection of human-computer interaction, accessibility, and design, with a focus on accessible design, research, and computing education. She developed the Design for Social Accessibility (DSA) perspective and method cards, which supports how designers engage with disabled user needs and preferences, particularly for social situations. Her NSF funded research projects focus on how to empower disabled graduate students and designers, and on the prevalence of accessibility practice in the tech industry and how to improve teaching accessibility in computing education. Her work has received Best Paper and Honorable Mention awards from the CHI Conference in Human Factors in Computing and has appeared as the cover story in the Communications of the ACM. She is the recipient of a 2022 Google Scholar Award to improve user centered design methods for deaf and hard of hearing designers, and she is a faculty member of RIT’s AWARE-AI NSF Research Traineeship Program. Kristen received her PhD from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2017.

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