U Washington Offers Computer Academy for Hearing Impaired

The University of Washington is hosting its first Summer Academy for Advancing Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Computing, a nine-week program  during which students will learn how to program software, write computer code, model 3D objects, and make cartoon figures move.

Program administrators said they want to encourage students to consider careers in the field, as educators do not often recognize the talent such students have and instead suggest less technical jobs.

"Horizons are not being broadened," the program's coordinator, Robert Roth, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "Many are interested in computers, but teachers are steering them towards fixing computers."

The UW program is believed to be one of the few of its kind for deaf and hard of hearing students, though the university offers other programs for students with disabilities.

The students, all of whom are male, will receive college credit for attending the academy. Tuition, room and board and transportation to Seattle are paid for through grants the university received for the program. The organizers said they hope to recruit some female students next year.

The students will take courses in math, science, computer programming, and animation, then use their new skills to develop a short animated clip as the summer's final project. The story line will involve an animated mousetrap.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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