Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Computing

Committee Chair/Advisor

Julian Brinkley

Committee Member

Guo Freeman

Committee Member

Paige Rodeghero

Committee Member

Murali Sitaraman


This dissertation explores the pathways for making K-12 computing education more accessible for blind or visually impaired (BVI) learners. As computer science (CS) expands into K-12 education, more concerted efforts are required to ensure all students have equitable access to opportunities to pursue a career in computing. To determine their viability with BVI learners, I conducted three studies to assess current accessibility in CS curricula, materials, and learning environments. Study one was interviews with visually impaired developers; study two was interviews with K-12 teachers of visually impaired students; study three was a remote observation within a computer science course. My exploration revealed that most of CS education lacks the necessary accommodations for BVI students to learn at an equitable pace with sighted students. However, electronic learning (e-learning) was a theme that showed to provide the most accessible learning experience for BVI students, although even there, usability and accessibility challenges were present in online learning platforms.

My dissertation engaged in a human-centered approach across three studies towards designing, developing, and evaluating an online learning management system (LMS) with the critical design elements to improve navigation and interaction with BVI users. Study one was a survey exploring the perception of readiness for taking online courses between sighted and visually impaired students. The findings from the survey fueled study two, which employed participatory design with storytelling with K-12 teachers and BVI students to learn more about their experiences using LMSs and how they imagine such systems to be more accessible. The findings led to developing the accessible learning content management system (ALCMS), a web-based platform for managing courses, course content, and course roster, evaluated in study three with high school students, both sighted and visually impaired, to determine its usability and accessibility. This research contributes with recommendations for including features and design elements to improve accessibility in existing LMSs and building new ones.



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