Sandra Guzman-Rodriguez, Maria Kaffa & Miranda Melcher – Educational Technologists – City, University of London
An accessible version of this poster is available in Word document format at the end of this page.
Our poster will present the initial analytics and feedback of the Blackboard Ally pilot running at City from January to May 2022. Blackboard Ally is a software that will be available across all Moodle modules to make all learning content more accessible to all students. Blackboard Ally helps lecturers by merging into the existing workflow of Moodle and providing accessibility feedback and assistance on individual resources and overall modules to lecturers. This not only increases lecturers’ knowledge of accessibility (Cooper, 2016), it also improves the student experience (Lewis, 2021).
The tool can also be used by students to generate alternative file formats which they may find more helpful, for example and audio of a paper. The poster will highlight opportunities and challenges in generating alternative formats from the students that have helped to test this tool. This will also promote the process of using disabled students as co-designers and encourage partnership in our effort to advance City’s digital accessibility maturity (McNaught, 2021; Ender, 2021).
Since January 2022, 15 lecturers at City, from across all the Schools and LEaD’s Master’s in Academic Practice) have been using this software on 22 modules. This poster will present findings from this pilot, in terms of baseline accessibility of resources, how and where improvements were made, and experiences of using this technology.
As this software will be embedded into all City Moodle modules from the next academic year 2022-2023, showcasing the pilot feedback and engagement with the software will be of clear benefit to City staff and students. This poster will present a City-specific understanding of the use of Ally so far, helping to clarify future implementation of the tool.
This poster will learn from similar work to embed digital accessibility guidance for staff undertaken at other Higher Education Institutions (Almufarreh et al, 2021; Gardener, 2021; Humpreys and Pinny, 2021). This will be the first analysis of Ally at City, offering novel value to participants.
Almufarreh, A., Arshad, M. and Hassan Mohammed, S., 2021. An Efficient Utilization of Blackboard Ally in Higher Education Institution. Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing, 29(1), pp.73-87.
Copper, M. (2016) “Making online learning accessible to disabled students: an institutional case study”, Research in Learning Technology, 14(1). doi: 10.3402/rlt.v14i1.10936.
Ender, P. 2021 “What technology for inclusion means to me.”, Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars, University of Kent. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwDUqt5W9B4&list=PLAbF8wnSF-e97oT87D50n4jJFOuK1lsp6&index=2 [accessed 03/05/2022]
Gardener, C. 2021 “Digital Accessibility at Derby.”, Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars, University of Kent. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itVjn4u34Gg&list=PLAbF8wnSF-e97oT87D50n4jJFOuK1lsp6&index=4 [accessed 03/05/2022]
Humphreys, J. and Pinny, K. “Accessible and inclusive learning online: challenges and opportunities.”, Association for Learning Technology Conference 2021. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0xMFPaOcV0&list=PLxoWy14N6f8uF1mOBaQtzN5xLhgMGjms7&index=66 [accessed 03/05/2022]
Lewis, V. 2021 “Student perspective – using Blackboard Ally with low vision.”, Education Technology, Available from: https://edtechnology.co.uk/sponsored/student-perspective-using-blackboard-ally-with-low-vision/ [accessed 03/05/2022]
McNaught, A. 2021,. “Accessibility maturity in an educational context (2): Drivers.”, Linkedin, Available from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/accessibility-maturity-educational-context-2-drivers-mcnaught [accessed 11/03/21)