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New Stanford course tackles designing for people with disabilities

Image of Zach Crighton with members of the Stanford group

Zach Crighton, a 17-year-old high school student with cerebral palsy, meets with students in the Compassionate Design course taught by lecturer John Moalli. The students are hoping they can make improvements to Crighton’s wheelchair and communication tools. 

Image Credit: L.A. Cicero
Apr 21 2017

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In the News, Initiatives, Students

A new course teaches undergraduates how to design for people with physical disabilities. Each week, students learn about a different disability, then brainstorm design ideas to address issues and present their work to the class.

Students in a new undergraduate course have this question to ponder: How would it feel to be a bright person with big goals and ideas, but live in a world that’s not designed for you?

The new course, called Dare to Care: Compassionate Design, spurs students to consider how to engage and address the needs of a diverse community of people with physical disabilities, and it’s not just for the engineering-minded – freshmen and sophomores from all majors can apply for one of the 16 slots.

The idea for the course has been brewing for some time. John Moalli, a lecturer in chemical engineering, teaches a course called Masters of Disaster, in which student teams analyze disasters and design new products with lessons learned in mind.