Korea University: Students with Disabilities at Korea University Create an App for On-Campus Mobility of the Disabled

The Center for Students with Disabilities launched a service that provides vehicles equipped with wheelchair slopes or “slope vans” to the disabled – whether permanently or temporarily – members of Korea University for their greater mobility and convenience.

○ 2 “slope vans” equipped with internal wheelchair ramps in operation
○ All Korea University members with either permanent or temporary disabilities can use the service
○ Helpers for further mobility support and Campus Walk program for the visually-handicapped also in operation

The Mobility-for-the-Disabled service has been designed to help the disabled navigate the campus conveniently as their access to lecture rooms and mobility within the campus have become even more limited due to the combination of face-to-face and virtual classes during the pandemic. Students with disabilities have taken part in the Barrier-Free App for Student with Disabilities Support Project to develop an application that provides the service, as their perspectives have strengthened its usability in consideration of various types of disabilities and have enabled adequate access for the visually-handicapped. The app is currently being tested by the Project Team and the Smart Campus Team, which will then be officially launched in the second half of the year.

Barrier-Free App for Students with Disabilities Support Project
– The objective of the Project is to develop an app to support students with disabilities.

Beyond mere ideation, it aims to build a practical design and strategic framework.

– The Project prioritizes accessibility so anyone can benefit from the app.

Korean University plans and executes team projects for students both with and without disabilities so they can broaden their perspectives and gain deeper understandings of disabilities. In the projects, students build a disabled-friendly campus, termed Korea University Barrier Free (KUBF), that removes psychological and physical barriers for all.

“I could simply request vehicle support by notifying them when I need it and email or KakaoTalk them to make any changes, so the whole process wasn’t that complicated,” said a student with disabilities who has used the service. “The dorm and school buildings have steep stairs and slopes that could be dangerous for me to walk on crutches; so, I might have taken a leave of absence for the semester if it weren’t for the service. I am very grateful for that.”

“It helped me a lot to move around the campus between lectures, as there are slopes between buildings that slow me down while I’m moving in a wheelchair,” said another student with disabilities, “the vehicle support for the disabled was of greater help in this regard. It practically shortened the distances I have to travel quickly and easily so I could get to my classes on time.” The student strongly recommended the service to other students as “friends who are helping you can also hop on the van together.”

The Korea University Center for Students with Disabilities offers tailored services to those in need based on one-on-one discussion open to all. Responsible for improving awareness for the disabled members of Korea University by means of executing mandatory training, it also provides a wide variety of support needed for participating in lectures and using campus facilities, which range from helper/volunteer programs, customized assistance, campaigns for raising awareness of disability issues, sponsorship programs and extra support for graduate students with disabilities.

The Center for Students with Disabilities has received a grade of Excellent in the 2020 Examination of the Educational Welfare for College Students with Disabilities, and received a medal from the Minister of Health and Welfare in celebration of the 41st Disabled Persons Day in 2021.

As of Spring Semester 2022, 224 students with disabilities are registered with the Center for Students with Disabilities. The types of disabilities include but are not limited to physical disabilities, brain lesions, hearing impairment, autism, language disorder, facial dysplasia, epilepsy, mental disorder, cardio disorder and intestinal fistula. Approximately 10 of them are currently using the Mobility-for-the-Disabled Service.