The Minor in Assistive Technology prepares students to design and fabricate assistive technologies and provide clinical assistive technology services to people with disabilities. Students learn how to use a variety of design and fabrication technologies (including CAD software, 3D printers, laser cutters and microprocessors). Students also learn to solve problems in interdisciplinary teams and manage complex projects. Students who complete this minor and subsequently meet work experience requirements will be prepared to sit for the Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) certification exam. The minor can serve as a precursor to various paths of study including but not limited to health sciences, biomedical engineering, special education and nursing. The fabrication laboratory courses in this minor necessitate an enrollment limit of 20 students each year. Priority is given to students in health sciences and biomedical engineering.

Program Goals

Students who complete the minor in Assistive Technology will:

  • Articulate the knowledge and demonstrate the skills necessary to integrate assistive technology within their own field of study to increase the independence and function of individuals with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work with individuals of other professions to identify the needs and abilities of an individual with disabilities, design a solution and then fabricate and document that solution.
  • Explore multiple areas of assistive technology, to encourage some to pursue additional training to become rehabilitation engineers or assistive technology professionals.
  • Learn to design and fabricate devices so that once their discipline-specific training (e.g., OT, Biomedical Engineering, Special Education, etc.) is layered on top, they can configure, modify and combine existing solutions and fabricate new assistive technology solutions for consumers with disabilities.

Minor Requirements

The Assistive Technology minor is designed for students in health sciences and biomedical engineering programs but is available to any undergraduate student at Duquesne University, regardless of major. There are no prerequisites for enrollment in this minor and there is no restriction on credit-sharing between majors and minors, the University Core Curriculum, or a School's or the College's Core Curriculum. The minor must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Only students who have been accepted into the minor may be enrolled in the courses in the minor.

The minor requires 15 credits of classroom and laboratory work:

9 credits from Fabrication and Rapid Prototyping

  • OCCT/BMED 417: Fabrication of Assistive Technologies: Hardware (3 cr)
  • OCCT/BMED 419: Fabrication of Assistive Technologies: Software and Electronics (3 cr)
  • OCCT/BMED 421: Fabrication of Assistive Technologies: Studio (3 cr)

3 credits from Commercially-Available Assistive Technology

  • OCCT/BMED 550: Environmental Adaptations & Rehabilitation Technology (3 cr)

3 credits from Educational Technology and Universal Design for Learning

  • LTSP 201: Foundations of Inclusive Educational Practice (3 cr), or
  • GLBH 245: Disabilities Across the World (3 cr), or
  • DMA 227: Interactive Media Design (3 cr)

Assistive Technology Minor Application Form

If you have additional questions about the minor, please contact Dr.%20Richard%20Simpson.

Course Descriptions

Find out more about what is covered in each assistive technology course!

This course is intended to be co-taught: one instructor from OT and one from BME. Students will be exposed to assistive fabricate designs using a 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC mill/lathe and other tools. Grading will be based on a series of individual projects and a final group project.
This course is intended to be co-taught: one instructor from OT and one from BME. Students will be exposed to assistive technology concepts in cognitive aids, augmentative communication, and electronic aids to daily living. Students will learn to fabricate assistive technologies using computers, mobile computing devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets), microprocessors, sensors and actuators. Grading will be based on a series of individual projects and a final group project.
This will be a project-based course where students will collaborate in a studio environment to design and fabricate assistive technologies intended for general use or for specific individuals in the community.
Assessment and modification of the physical environment to enhance occupational performance including computer resources, assistive technology, home health, environmental controls, and environmental accessibility.
This course chronicles the historical and legal foundations of the field of special education with a focus on inclusive educational practice as it relates to the principle of least restrictive environment. The types and nature of disabilities from the perspective of normal growth and development and the impact on designing instruction for students with diverse learning needs will be examined. Topics include the referral and identification process, collaborative skills for decision-making and building partnerships, and developing instructional supports for students with diverse learning and behavior needs based on individualized assessments.
This course challenges students to consider individuals with disabilities within the context of social justice and dignity. The course focuses on how disabilities are perceived across the world's cultures and societies, the consequences of those perceptions, and the historical, political, and economic forces that which perpetuate them. The goals and missions of some of the agencies and movements dedicated to addressing disabilities across the globe are explored. Through large class discussions, book readings, videos, and individual assignments, students engage in self-reflection about their personal assumptions and beliefs about individuals with disabilities as well as the ethical problems these assumptions bring to our social interactions with other people. Several classes will be conducted online through Blackboard, using Discussion Board and/or Collaborate as the learning platform. Theme Area Social Justice.
Investigation of foundational elements and principles of Human factors, Human-Computer Interaction, and New media theory. Through hands-on projects (e.g., interfaces - apps, websites, auto dashboard displays, smartwatches), students learn the importance of these foundations to designing interactive products. Students learn various design approaches such as human-center design and activity-centered design.