[BITS] An Ally to Inclusive Learning: How Accessibility and UDL Benefit All Learners

Created by eschramke on Jul 12, 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at

Starts at 1:00 PM · Ends at 2:00 PM, EDT (America/New_York)


As you begin preparing for your upcoming courses, how much are you thinking about the accessibility of your digital materials? Making sure your digital course environment is accessible for students with disabilities is essential, but did you know more accessible content can benefit all of your students? Hear about the ways Blackboard Ally helps instructors more easily identify and correct accessibility issues with their course content, as well as some practical strategies for using Ally’s “Alternative Formats” of course files to activate Universal Design for Learning principles. We’ll share stories and insights from the over 150 colleges and universities currently using Ally to help make their learning environments more inclusive.   


You will learn:

    • Learn about simple accessibility strategies and the different ways accessible content can benefit all learners.
    • Learn about Blackboard Ally, and how alternative formats of course files promote Universal Design for Learning guidelines.
    • Discover simple strategies and tips to improve content accessibility and integrate UDL guidelines in your courses



Nicolaas Matthijs, Product Manager – Blackboard Ally

Nicolaas is an entrepreneur and product creator with over 10 years of experience in Educational Technology. Nicolaas has worked at several leading R1 institutions such as Cambridge University, UC Berkeley and Georgia Tech, where he developed Learning Management Systems, Academic Collaboration Tools, Learning Analytics solutions and other learning tools. He has contributed to numerous Open Source projects and communities and is internationally recognized for bringing technical and user experience innovation to these communities, for which he has received several awards. Nicolaas was also the co-founder and CEO of Fronteer, developing a revolutionary tool, called Ally, that helps institutions make their course materials more accessible for all learners. Following the acquisition of Fronteer by Blackboard, Nicolaas now acts as the Product Manager for Ally at Blackboard.


John Scott, Community Manager - Blackboard Ally

Prior to joining the Blackboard Ally team, John worked on his PhD in Education and New Media at the University of California Berkeley, where he designed, taught, and researched  learning courses focused on collaborative learning, multimodal literacy, and Universal Design for Learning. He spent 4 years as a Special Education teacher in New York City public schools, specializing in technology-mediated literacy and learning. He is passionate about supporting teachers adopt new technologies and inclusive pedagogies in their practice.