During BbWorld 2015, over 2000 clients gathered to learn what Blackboard has accomplished this year; to share innovative ideas and best practices with their peers; and to build relationships within several growing communities. One such community is focused around accessibility.
The increased use of technology in education brings with it a greater awareness and pressure on institutions to ensure equal access to learners with disabilities. This year’s BbWorld recognized the need to bring together education stakeholders, faculty and even learners themselves to have a conversation around accessibility, to share their experiences and dive deeper into what it takes to create inclusive educational experiences in today’s learning environment.
New this year, the conference featured an Accessibility Knowledge Bar where attendees could ask questions and share experiences. Three client-led accessibility presentations provided the foundation for many clients looking to improve the accessibility of their own online offerings:
- Aaron Page and Marlene Zentz from the University of Montana led a session on the benefits and ease of creating accessible content, complete with product demonstrations using assistive technology.
- Harriette Spiegel from the University of Tennessee talked about building accessible curriculum and helping establish teacher-training programs on campus.
- Dave Rathburn from the University of Cincinnati talked about establishing inclusive education environments in Higher Education in the United States and how to address the expectations of the Office of Civil Rights.
Additionally, 2Gether-International, a Washington DC based group focused on awareness and advocacy around the disabled identity, facilitated a panel discussion and workshop in the Learner track at BbWorld. They also curated an art exhibit called “A True Limitation,” featuring work from artists with a disability themselves or a close connection to someone disabled. We were proud to display several of the pieces during the conference.
Blackboard is fully committed to delivering products and services that meet and exceed the highest levels of global accessibility standards. The best way for us to do this is to work closely with the community on the front lines of accessibility. One way we’re doing this is through our new community site, providing a space where institutions can connect and share resources and best practices around accessibility. We encourage you to register for the Blackboard community site and join the conversation.