Accessibility in Instructional Design Programs

I received a question today that I can’t really answer, so I’m hoping that some of you out there who have actual degrees in instructional design can help me out.

Did most (or all) ID degree programs teach accessibility?

When I polled people on how you learn about accessibility earlier this year, only 1 person indicated they learned about accessibility from a formal course. However, my sample size is small (only 80 responses), so take that with a major grain of salt. Still, it seems like a minority of people learned it that way.

Maybe my results are skewed by people who are like me and don’t have a degree though. Can anybody help this reader out with info about accessibility in a formal ID degree program?

7 thoughts on “Accessibility in Instructional Design Programs”

  1. I completed my M.S. Ed. in Educational Technology at Purdue a couple years back and I actually don’t remember the issue of accessibility coming up much at all. In my current job, however, it is always a major consideration as we design/develop e-learning courses.

  2. I’m glad to hear at least some of the programs include it. It makes sense to integrate accessibility with other subjects like development/production. To some extent, if accessibility is a separate course, it might make it easier to treat it as an afterthought (the way it often actually happens in development).

  3. I’m getting my MEd in instructional design (focusing on adult learning) from UMass-Boston and we have covered issues of accessibility in a couple of my courses, generally ones dealing with development/production.

  4. I’m currently enrolled in GMU’s Instructional Design Immersion program ( and one of the prerequisites of acceptance into the program is passing a course on web design and accessibility. So we were exposed quite early to accessibility issues and the 508 standards. We are also working with a federal government client, so we have to work in compliance with section 508. The ID program at Mason also offers a track in assistive technology which I presume delves quite deeply into all sorts of accessibility issues.

  5. No, I don’t think so. I’m sure that the first time I sat down and read the 508 standard was after grad school for a client project. They might have mentioned in grad school (can’t remember – this was ~10 years ago, btw), but no specifics.

      1. Section 508 is the same, though a major update to the standards is expected in about a year or two. And unfortunately, the situation is pretty much the same, too. Companies offer accessibility courses, but it is quite rare in formalized school settings. Accessibility, however, is becoming part of the education, but only as a component of other subjects.

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