Priorities:Wichita State University Faculty Project

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Project Name: Shock this Space

Project by Faculty Innovation Fellows Candidate Darren DeFrain

Why is this project important to you, your department, & your Fellows?

As an advocate for accessibility and equitable education, my hope is that this effort will help raise awareness around accessibility issues while offering students the chance to effect real and lasting change for the campus and campus culture.


Even after a significant lawsuit, accessibility and equity continue to be thorny issues for Wichita State (and well beyond) that won’t be easily or readily resolved. The problems in getting these issues fully addressed have much less to do with administrative will and everything to do with campus culture. Shock this Space aims to fully invest students in transforming the culture at Wichita State into one that actively and continuously seeks to productively address accessibility and equity issues throughout the campus.

Bringing together graphic arts, 3D animation, retro-engineering and narration (all academic strengths), Shock this Space will launch a student-led hack-a-thon to create graphic narratives around how and WHY to change campus spaces into accessible learning environments. These graphic narratives will be put together in a larger, overarching narrative delivered by weird-but-beloved campus mascot, Wu (an animated shock of wheat) and made available on a Shock this Space app. The app will then feature a customizable 3D mode that will users to find and address issues on campus spaces. For instance, a user could copy a current classroom space and then “see” the space from a visually or physically impaired user’s perspective, isolating issues and playing out solutions.

Stakeholders served

  1. Students & students with disabilities
  2. Instructors
  3. Campus visitors and anyone using campus facilities

Key Milestones

  • December 2020: Create campus team in conjunction with Disability Services, Computer Science, Design, Creative Writing MFA Program and Shocker Studios.
  • March 2021: Advertise hack-a-thon to encourage individuals and teams of students to create suitable, illustrated narratives that discuss how and why to address accessibility issues on campus. For the first round of narratives there will be a hearty list of potential topics driven by the campus’ Disability Services.
  • June 2021: A select group of graduate students will work to create an overarching narrative, as told by WSU mascot: Wu. This narrative will have to both incorporate current AND future versions of narrative hacks. A Wu scheherazade, if you will. Students will be selected from the MFA Programs in Creative Writing, Graphic Design, and other appropriate programs. This narrative will be completed by the end of fall 2021. Begin work on app.
  • September 2021: Prizes will be awarded in fall 2021 for the best completed narratives.
  • December 2021: Combine app development with overarching and selected narratives.
  • March 2022: Working with the facilities and experience at NetApp in conjunction with WSU’s Shocker Studios, an app to deliver the student-developed narratives and an interactive, 3D model capable of mimicking any current campus space will be delivered by March of 2022. The 3D side of the app will allow users to recreate current campus spaces to “test” them for accessibility while helping users foster and try out new ways of addressing accessibility problems. The narrative side of the app will have a menu of the graphic narratives addressing a wide array of problem spots and fixes. Full functionality will also be accessible with a haptic/auditory version for the visually impaired. Address of campus accessibility issues will be ongoing.

An Innovation Portfolio

I will record and share hack-a-thon advertising and results. I will record and share documented team efforts through project narrative and photographs. The completed app will be available, along with a development diary describing successes (and failures) of the process.

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