Student Experiences with Diversity and Inclusion in Technology Design Courses
Fitzgerald, Shannon Lenise
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Technology design education does not yet teach students how to effectively avoid embedding their unconscious social and cultural biases into artifacts they design and build, despite widespread critical examination of the social impact of technology. Unintended consequences that exclude or discriminate against people as they use technology reflect an inability to acknowledge diversity and inclusion topics as integral to technology design. Through a national survey, this exploratory study examined the attitudes of 115 students studying Computer Science, Information Science, User-Centered-Design and related disciplines, yielding insights into their classroom experiences; receptiveness to and concerns about engaging in discussions of equity, diversity and inclusion; and interest in addressing these issues in their own designs. These findings inform a set of proposed curricular interventions that incorporate ethics, equity, and bias into technology design courses as a supplement to traditional lectures introducing basic diversity and inclusion concepts.