IDEA 301: Barriers & Their Social Meaning



1.5 Hour AIA LU


Through design, people can both remove barriers and develop supportive environments, products, and systems to facilitate the achievement of their goals. This course introduces students to the origins and philosophy behind the concept of universal design. It explores the social meaning of barriers in architecture and describes universal design as one means to break down unnecessary barriers to social participation. Students will learn about the various types of barriers in the environment, social functions of space, and sociospatial order.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to…

  • Explain the concept and origins of universal design.
  • Describe how barriers are used to negotiate social order, spatial order, and access to information.
  • Identify common barriers in their everyday environments using concrete descriptors.
  • Explain the difference between privacy and territoriality and give examples of each.


Students must create a account and purchase the course. Access to this course begins immediately.

To complete this course, students must complete approximately 1.5 hours of work anytime during a 1-year window of availability. Specifically, students must:

  1. Read “Barriers and Their Social Meaning” (Chapter 1, approximately 9,500 words) in the textbook: Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments (sold separately in print and e-book format at Wiley and Amazon).
  2. Correctly answer at least 7 out of 10 multiple-choice test questions within a single 20-minute session.

A certificate of completion will be provided on the course website following successful completion. Access certificates for expired courses anytime on the My Profile page.

For information regarding student responsibilities; grading policy; continuing education credits; computing system requirements; and policies on refunds, reasonable accommodations, accessibility, privacy, and terms of use, see our Policies and Terms of Use page.

Additional information

AIA Credit Type



Test Only


1-2 Hours




Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments

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