For us at Blackboard, accessibility isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s an imperative. We are committed to making sure all our products are both usable and accessible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation. For evidence, take a look at a few third-party recognitions we’ve received for Blackboard Learn recently.

For over 10 years, Blackboard Collaborate product managers and developers have adopted a No User Left Behind™ philosophy, which guided us to build in accessibility from the ground up. The end result is a richer, more interactive online teaching, learning, and collaboration environment for everyone, regardless of geography, economy or ability.

In this vein, I’m proud to share a few examples of how the latest & greatest enhancements to Blackboard Collaborate support accessibility.

We recently added the ability to integrate a teleconference bridge into your web conferencing session with no need for a third-party teleconference service and no setup for moderators or administrators. This integrated telephony increases access by:

  • empowering those with a shaky internet connection to participate via telephone instead of using bandwidth for VoIP, allowing rural or economically disadvantaged populations who don’t have solid internet connections or smartphones to access the audio portion of web conferences
  • enabling those who rely on phones that are specially designed for the hearing impaired to participate, as VoIP is not yet optimized for hard of hearing
  • accommodating non-traditional students who juggle family and school, like the working mom or dad who needs to be away from the computer for a few minutes to cook dinner but still wants to participate in class discussion

We also recently made Blackboard Collaborate available on smartphones and mobile devices running Android including Kindle Fire HD, increasing access by:

  • expanding availability to millions of users of the world’s most popular mobile platform, joining a native iOS app released last year
  • supporting users who don’t own or have access to computers
  • allowing users to join from wherever life takes you

With these and the many other accessibility features built into Blackboard Collaborate’s web conferencing, you can be sure that virtually anyone and everyone can fully engage and participate in your online classroom.

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  • Bob

    Is your terrible iOS app an example of leaving no user behind?

    • Shannon Forte

      Bob, our Blackboard Collaborate Mobile app for iOS and Android is one of many ways that we allow users to access and participate in a Collaborate session anywhere, anytime.