Project Info

Accessibility and Accommodations for Students in STEM

Brianna Buljung

Project Goals and Description:

The student working on this project will explore initiatives and techniques for making STEM resources more accessible for students with disabilities. They will focus on accommodations that students with disabilities receive in their K-12 education and how some of those accommodations might translate to higher education. Federal requirements for providing support to students with disabilities are significantly less detailed once a student enters college and this often leads to struggles for students. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) supports students in K-12 education but does not apply to higher education. This research will inform further development of our Accessibility Course for Education (ACE) by helping faculty to bridge the gap between K-12 and higher education.   This project will be interesting to students who are exploring teaching careers, or who might have a need to teach or train others as part of their work in industry. It will be interesting for students who are curious about issues related to access and inclusion in higher education, specifically STEM. The project also provides the opportunity to contribute to content in the open ACE course as well as the teaching practices of faculty across the Mines campus.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Advance personalized learning.
  1. Mines OER Research Guide will provide insights into OER in general
  2. The Accessibility Course for Education is currently live on Canvas Commons - Students don’t typically have access to Canvas Commons. If you are interested, please contact Seth Vuletich to be added to the course.  
  3. Conference feedback on this paper was the impetus for creating this project: Vuletich, S., Bongiovanni, E., Buljung, B.B. and Odicino, A. (2022) “Building Curriculum for Instructors to Address OER Accessibility as STEM Librarians.” Paper presented at ASEE North Central Section 2022 Conference, March 18-19, Pittsburgh, PA.

Primary Contacts:

Brianna Buljung, | Seth Vuletich,

Student Preparation


  1. Basic research skills – the student will be mentored through an extensive literature review, but basic skills such as database searching, evaluating information and organizing found sources will be beneficial to the student. 
  2. Experience in interviewing and/or willingness to speak with professionals about their work – this student may be interviewing special education teachers and interventionists about their work with K-12 students.
  3. Curiosity and willingness to learn – the student may not have experience with accessibility or educational research but must be willing to ask questions and explore topics related to the research project. 




  1. Advanced literature searching – researching, organizing and writing a literature review 
  2. Experience with human subjects research and applying for Institutional Review Board project approval 
  3. Survey design, marketing, and analysis 
  4. Interview design, marketing, and analysis 
  5. Research synthesis and application to real world needs of Mines faculty and students 
  6. Content design for an open, asynchronous online course


This research project will have two major components 1) literature review and 2) engagement with K-12 professionals.  For the first component – we will work with the student to design and execute a review of current literature related to K-12 STEM accessibility accommodations. The student will learn research techniques (database searching, evaluation, citation management, academic writing, etc.) but will take the lead on finding and evaluating information for the review. They will synthesize their research and share findings with the rest of the team.   For the second component – we will mentor the student through the Institutional Review Board application and training process. Then, based on their findings from the first component and their professional interests, the student will design and execute semi-structured interviews with K-12 professionals and/or create a survey for those professionals to complete. The student will learn about different human subjects research techniques and how to select the one most appropriate for the study.  The student will work closely with faculty librarians, a graduate fellow and other Mines faculty throughout the project. They will be able to tailor aspects of the project to their interests and professional goals. There will be opportunities to prepare publications for conferences and/or journals, exposure to the grant writing process and potentially (if time allows) to design a module for the ACE course. 


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