ETEC 565C: Ableism, Equity, and Educational Technology


This course will introduce you to practices, theories and debates concerning the intersections between technology, media, disability and ableism. It will provide opportunities to critically reflect on how you think about disability and technology and what this means for your educational practice.
Digital technology can provide space for disabled people to find community and to reframe how they are represented in various forms of media including textbooks, but it also provides platforms for reproducing inequity. How might we think about these dilemmas as educators? What does it mean for educational planning and assessment?

Learning Objectives

After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Critically assess technology-enabled learning experiences through the lens of ableism;
  • Develop strategies for identifying ableism concerning resource allocation decisions surrounding technology;
  • Critique and recommend changes to the design of technologies based on an understanding of how values and beliefs about disability connect to these designs.
  • Understand how discourses around educational technology, media and disability are interconnected with other forms of structural oppression (e.g. racism).
  • Develop an educational practice that is grounded in understanding of ableism and provides ways for thinking about making room for, and amplifying, the voices of disabled people in relation to technology and media.


This course follows a bi-weekly modular design focused on topics and themes relevant to the course objectives and assigned texts. Required texts (readings and multi-media), course materials, online discussions, and assignments will be completed in an asynchronous format.

Module themes and topics

  • A discussion of language
  • A brief history of disability and technology: From Tiny Tim to Stephen Hawking
  • Frameworks for thinking about disability
  • Intersections: Technology for who and what?
  • Inclusion or exclusion?
  • Can technology include everyone?
  • Technological rights, and cyber activism

Readings & Resources

All course materials will be available online via the Library Online Course Reserve (LOCR) linked to the course navigation menu, and/or from hyperlinks to freely available videos and articles online.


Assignments & Assessment

We are committed to assignments that provide rich and relevant opportunities for your learning. With this in mind we welcome your ideas for alternative assignments.

  • Weekly discussion participation (10%)

We expect weekly participation in discussion groups which includes your thoughts about the readings and your responses to at least two other people in the class.

  • Assignment #1 Autobiography: Early Memories of Disability (30%)

In this assignment we invite you to think back to how you came to your understanding of disability. You are free to choose how you’d like to tell your story (e.g. essay, podcast, video, short story)

  • Assignment #2: Group Project (Outline and Draft: 10%. Presentation to class: 20%, Final product: 30%)

For this assignment you will work in groups of up to five people to develop a media product (e.g. video, podcast, blog, Op-Ed or wiki, choose your own adventure story, professional development) to expand or counter current common representations concerning disability and technology. This project is not just about a final product but the conversations you engage in through the process of creating the product.

Minor course topic, activity, reading/resource and assignment details may change from year to year.