At Blackboard, we see accessibility as an imperative, and I’m proud that again this year we are participating in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Since 2012, GAAD has aimed to get everyone thinking, sharing best practices and learning about digital access and people with different disabilities.

On May 17, we will host a “follow-the-sun” series of webinars focused on accessibility in education at all levels and across the globe.

The webinars span five different time zones in 24 hours.  Our roster of expert speakers includes educators, policy makers, and advocates. We are excited about this year’s stellar lineup of speakers which include:

  • Paul Harpur, Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland, will tell his story as he reflects on creating a better learning environment for all learners.
  • Heidi Pettyjohn and Dave Rathbun from the University of Cincinnati will share stories and strategies on providing tools and education through involvement on strategic eLearning and university initiatives to understand how accessibility fits into the work that they do.
  • Brett Christie will discuss outcomes of California State University Universal Design for Learning efforts, which began in 2005. At the core of this effort is professional development that provides faculty and staff the support and training necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are provided a high quality postsecondary education.
  • Ben Brown and Tracy Sangster from the Davidson Institute, a K12 school for the profoundly gifted, will talk about designing courses that are flexible and emphasize the students’ preference in learning.

For a complete list and to register, please visit http://webinars.blackboard.com/Global-Accessibility-Awareness-Day-2018

As inclusive thinking spreads across the education community, we all have a unique opportunity to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities. Learners’ fundamental goals remain the same, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. We must endeavor to fully understand the needs of people with disabilities and expand that to a truly inclusive learning experience. That means providing anytime, anywhere access to learning, expanding the availability of courses to all students regardless of location, fostering faculty and student engagement, and making online learning more accessible to students with disabilities.

I’m proud Blackboard is at the forefront of working with institutions to provide technology and services that focus on the learner and improve student outcomes. We hope these GAAD sessions help us open more doors for students and expand educational opportunity for everyone, wherever they are, whatever their needs, and however they learn.

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