Universal design as a theme in higher education
To ensure opportunities for the participation and welfare for all, society is dependent on the development of knowledge and interaction between different sectors of society. Universities and university colleges are arenas for education where knowledge is developed, trained and applied to enable students to deal with challenges that must be resolved for the benefit of society. Universal design is adopted in several laws and regulations as an obligation to carry out new measures. This requires knowledge of how to work with universal design in practice. In this article we describe the experiences of a three-year collaboration in education in universal design between programs in occupational therapy and civil engineering. The purpose was to provide students with knowledge of each other's field of knowledge and methods to contribute to a shared knowledge base of universal design within each subject. By analyzing specific areas or tasks students should justify and critically reflect on universal design. Further, the purpose is to strengthen universal design as a theme in research and education. Students valued highly to get to know and work with each other, and they found that their own profession did not have a knowledge monopoly on universal design. Students found that other professions have different knowledge base, and that the interdisciplinary cooperation gave insight into the complementary knowledge that can be valuable in a future professional work with universal design.
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