Accessibility

Blackboard Ally Tour arrives at GVSU to Raise Awareness of Inclusive Education through Accessibility

The Blackboard Ally Tour arrives at GVSU!

On Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, John Scott, Product Manager on the Blackboard Inc. Ally team visited GVSU to share best practices around accessibility with faculty, staff, and students.

The goal of the visit was to provide the opportunity to engage in conversations around the importance of inclusive education through accessibility. John provided a workshop session to over 20+ attendees, covering the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the features and capabilities of Blackboard Ally, as well as tips and techniques for improving the accessibility of files.

Here are a few photos from the Ally Tour GVSU visit:

Jeff Sykes, Assistive Technology Coordinator, John Scott, Product Manager Blackboard Ally, Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies

Pictured left to right: Jeff Sykes, GVSU – Assistive Technology Coordinator, John Scott – Blackboard Ally Product Manager, Eric Kunnen – GVSU Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies

Learn more about this event on the eLearning “Blackboard Ally Tour comes to GVSU!” web page.


ABOUT the BLACKBOARD ALLY TOUR
Building off the “Pathways to Inclusion” case studies (read GVSU’s “Data-driven Strategies for Inclusive Learning“), Blackboard facilitated an Ally 2019 Tour: On the Road to IncluCity event at GVSU to continue accessibility conversations across campuses around the world.

A key area of focus is to share best practices for implementing Universal Design for Learning principles and driving culture change around course accessibility.

ABOUT the BLACKBOARD ALLY and UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING WORKSHOP
“Supporting Diverse Needs through Inclusive Design and Learner Preference”

Accessible content authoring is not only essential for students who use assistive technologies, but it also results in more usable, flexible content that can adapt to diverse student needs and devices. During the workshop, we’ll discuss some of the key terms and research around inclusive learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and the different ways Ally’s alternative formats and instructor feedback help support those learning goals. Participants will then form teams and work on a series of accessibility and UDL challenges, focused around content authoring, content remediation, multimodal literacy, and curriculum design. At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will leave with one strategy or idea to make their learning environment more inclusive for all their learners.

ABOUT JOHN SCOTT
Product Manager, Blackboard Ally

John Scott is a Product Manager for Blackboard Ally. Prior to joining the Blackboard Ally team, John completed his PhD in Learning Sciences and New Media at the University of California Berkeley, where he designed, taught, and researched online learning courses focused on collaborative learning, multimodal literacy, and Universal Design for Learning. He spent 4 years as a literacy and arts teacher in New York City public schools, earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education, and specializing in technology-mediated literacy and learning. He has published and presented at professional research conferences on digital literacies, networked learning, and global education. He is passionate about working with instructors in adopting new technologies in the classroom through research-backed pedagogy and critical design.

Grand Valley Lanthorn article places spotlight on $1,000 Accessibility Competition

Blackboard Ally logo is picture with a gold trophy on a green background. The trophy has a white star in the middle.A recent article by Audrey Whitaker, a staff reporter for the Grand Valley Lanthorn, highlights an accessibility competition sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the eLearning and Emerging Technologies department in Information Technology at GVSU.

The eLearning team is excited about the opportunities that will be brought by this competition – to increase accessibility and students’ learning!

Image Description: “I hope it teaches everyone that if you’re willing to change just a little with the opportunities that technology brings, it can make big differences for lots of students” - GVSU Dean Antczak


Here are a few recent stats from Blackboard Ally at GVSU.

Fall 2019 Semester (as of October 7):

  • 3,649 Blackboard courses include content
  • 193,051 content items have been analyzed by Blackboard Ally
  • 64% is the current overall accessibility “With Ally” score, indicating improvements made through Ally’s alternative formats and instructor intervention, this is a 2% increase since Fall 2018
  • The top 3 institutional accessibility concerns include: Contrast (31,887), Missing Headers (29,944), Alternative Descriptions (26,554)
  • The most severe accessibility concern is Non-OCRed Documents (11,468)
  • There are 319 files (436 F18) that have been fixed in August/September by faculty
  • There have been 11,564 total alternative file downloads (9,093 F18) from 1,883 courses (1,450 F18)
  • The most popular alternative format is PDF, followed by HTML, OCRed PDF, ePub, Audio

Overall, since August 1, 2018 (to date), 945 files have been fixed in 305 courses. In addition, there have been 24,000+ alternative file format downloads from over 4,000 courses.


Access tips, tutorials, and information for effectively using Blackboard and creating accessible content with Ally at Grand Valley State University.

Sign up for 5 Seminars on Accessibility in Support of Inclusive Education at GVSU

In support of inclusive education at GVSU, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team has coordinated a series of accessibility and universal design for learning seminars and workshops specifically designed to support faculty this Fall!

Sign up in sprout to save your seat!

Accessibility and Ally:  How to the Turn the Dial to Green

dials.pngLearn how to create accessible Word documents and PowerPoint slides that get the green dial! Blackboard Ally helps you determine the accessibility of your content. Ally provides guidance and tips for improvements to your content accessibility.  At the end of this hands-on workshop, you will be able to:

  • interpret Ally’s feedback and understand the feedback on the accessibility of your content
  • be empowered with accessibility tips for course content
  • learn how to find instructional media guides for many different types of formats

A sample accessible syllabus will be provided and discussed.

We hope you can stay after the workshop to get started on making your own syllabus or class documents accessible.

WHEN

Register for Seminars and Ally Tour Workshops in Sprout


Blackboard Ally & Universal Design for Learning Faculty Workshop
Supporting Diverse Needs through Inclusive Design and Learner Preference

allylogo.jpgAccessible content authoring is not only essential for students who use assistive technologies, but it also results in more usable, flexible content that can adapt to diverse student needs and devices. During the workshop, we’ll discuss some of the key terms and research around inclusive learning and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and the different ways Ally’s alternative formats and instructor feedback help support those learning goals. Participants will then form teams and work on a series of accessibility and UDL challenges, focused around content authoring, content remediation, multimodal literacy, and curriculum design. At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will leave with one strategy or idea to make their learning environment more inclusive for all their learners.

WHEN

Register for Seminars and Ally Tour Workshops in Sprout


SEE ALSO

Learn more Blackboard Ally Tour and the $1,000 Student Scholarship Accessibility Competition!

$1,000 Student Scholarship to be given for Blackboard Ally Competition

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Image Description: The Blackboard Ally logo is showing with an image of a gold trophy and the words “College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Accessibility Competition” 

INTRODUCING THE $1,000 STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION!

WHAT

Sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and eLearning and Emerging Technologies in Information Technology, CLAS units and faculty will use Blackboard Ally to compete to create the most accessible course content in courses to support student success, inclusive education, and universal design for learning principles.

The unit with the highest percent improvement will receive a one-time $1,000 student scholarship in their name.

WHEN

September 25 through November 6, 2019

HOW

By using Blackboard Ally content indicators, course reports, and on screen guidance, faculty work with support from eLearning and Emerging Technologies to improve the accessibility of their course content – working to get Ally indicators to green!

LEARN MORE

Check out the current leaderboard standings and visit the Blackboard Ally – College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Accessibility Competition web page to learn more!

Blackboard Ally Tour arrives at GVSU!

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The Blackboard 2019 Ally Tour is coming to GVSU – Sign up to attend a workshop on supporting diverse needs through inclusive design and learner preference!

Building off the “Pathways to Inclusion” case studies (see also GVSU’s “Data-driven Strategies for Inclusive Learning“), Blackboard is facilitating an Ally 2019 Tour: On the Road to IncluCity event at GVSU to continue accessibility conversations across campuses around the world.

The last stop of 2019 is right here at Grand Valley State University!

SAVE-THE-DATE & REGISTER IN SPROUT


WHEN

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24

TIME EVENT LOCATION
10:00am – 12:00pm Blackboard Ally & Universal Design for Learning Faculty Workshop

Supporting Diverse Needs through Inclusive Design and Learner Preference

DOWNTOWN – 203E DEV

REGISTER IN SPROUT

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25

TIME EVENT LOCATION
9:00am – 11:00am Blackboard Ally & Universal Design for Learning Faculty Workshop

Supporting Diverse Needs through Inclusive Design and Learner Preference

ALLENDALE – 002 LIB

REGISTER IN SPROUT

WHY

A key area of focus is to share best practices for implementing Universal Design for Learning principles and driving culture change around course accessibility.

WHAT

The Blackboard Ally group and the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team at GVSU has coordinated a series of events, including an accessibility faculty workshop, designed to equip faculty with the basics of using Blackboard Ally and to focus on supporting diverse student needs through inclusive design and learner preference aka UDL (Universal Design for Learning)!


Learn more about the Blackboard Ally Tour at GVSU.

The eLearning Team welcomes New Faculty at GVSU!

WELCOME NEW FACULTY!

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On, Wednesday, August 7, New Faculty Orientation kicks off with over 100 faculty participating in 2 days of sessions focused on equipping and preparing new faculty at Grand Valley State University.

From 1 to 3pm, the eLearning and Emerging Technologies team will share a wealth of tips and strategies to leverage technology in teaching through break out sessions,  #EDTECH demonstrations, and consultations.

Specific sessions by the eLearning team include:

This post features a variety of technologies and resources that are available to faculty at GVSU.


Who is the eLearning team and what do they do?

Our eLearning and Emerging Technologies team is on mission to supporting faculty pursuing innovation in teaching an learning.

Our team provides a wide array of services and resources designed to facilitate digital learning at GVSU through supporting faculty in delivering high quality, innovative teaching.

We support faculty, contribute to teaching excellence, and enhance student success through:


What enterprise technologies are available at GVSU?

Look no further then our Teaching and Learning with Technology Guide!

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New to Blackboard?

Here are a few resources to help you get started!

  1. Checklist for getting started with Blackboard
  2. Tips for teaching and learning with Blackboard
  3. Facilitating live office hours and video conferencing with Collaborate
  4. Checking accessibility of your course content with Ally

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Interested in kicking-it-up-a-notch with video?

Check out the Digital Studio, Lightboard, and get help with using Panopto, our streaming video solution at GVSU!


Need instructional design support in teaching online?

Join a growing movement in higher education by learning to teach an online or hybrid course. The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team includes instructional designers in IDeL focused on providing expert guidance in designing high quality courses.


We’re here to help!

Visit our eLearning and Emerging Technologies web page to connect with a plethora of possibilities in teaching and learning with technology at GVSU!

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EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Conference Features Session on Inclusive Education through Accessibility

This year, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting offered nearly 150 breakout sessions, featured keynotes, posters, and even an “extended reality” (virtual and augmented reality) experience lab.

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, from Grand Valley State University and Heidi Pettyjohn, Executive Director for Accessibility, from the University of Cincinnati presented a poster entitled: “Strategies to Establish Pathways for Inclusive Education”, focusing on the topics of inclusive education, accessibility, and universal design for learning (UDL).

Heidi Pettyjohn, Executive Director for Accessibility, University of Cincinnati and Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, Grand Valley State University pictured, presenting a poster at the ELI Conference.

Heidi Pettyjohn (left), Executive Director for Accessibility, from the University of Cincinnati and Eric Kunnen (right), Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, from Grand Valley State University present a poster at the ELI Annual Meeting

Notes from the following sessions are available on the #EdTech with Eric blog under the #ELI2019 tag:

  • #ELI2019 – EDUCAUSE Horizon Report
  • #ELI2019 – Improving Student Success Analytics with Multiple Data Sources
  • #ELI2019 – Presentation Pair: Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning
  • #ELI2019 – Use Them or Lose Them: Digital Devices for Student Engagement
  • #ELI2019 – App Smackdown! A Battle Royal of Education Technology
  • #ELI2019 – Poster Sessions
  • #ELI2019 – Demonstrations: Extended Reality in Higher Education
  • #ELI2019 – Presentation Pair: Learning Horizons
  • #ELI2019 – How Higher Ed Can Cultivate Students to Lead the Future We Want to Live In
  • #ELI2019 – On Innovation, Extended Reality, and Digital Transformation
  • #ELI2019 – Strategies to Establish Pathways for Inclusive Education

About ELI

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through information technology innovation. The ELI Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for those interested in learning principles and practices, all dimensions of student success, and innovation in post-secondary learning to explore, network, and share.