25 Million Requests for Greater Access: a Review of Student Preferences for Course Accessibility


Presented at 11:15am in Gov Square 11 on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



  • Krista Greear Wright, Senior Accessibility Strategist, Anthology

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


All students want and need greater access. Blackboard Ally is laser-focused on increasing course content access to all students and will share global data to demonstrate the ways in which students are demanding more flexibility and utility.


Blackboard Ally, a tool that integrates with the major learning environments, can automatically provide 7 alternative file formats to content in a course. For example, a student can choose to download a webpage, audio, ePub or Braille version of a PDF that the instructor has added. But what are students choosing to download? How often is content being transformed from its original file? What original file type are students transforming the most? And how do the answers to these questions change based upon geographical region?

Let’s explore together the similarities and differences of Ally’s alternative format usage across North America, Latin America, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Southeast Asia, etc. We will share metrics such as:

  • The number of alternative format downloads (i.e. 25 million global downloads)
  • The breakdown of alternative format downloads (i.e. 4.3 million global downloads of ePub)
  • The breakdown of alternative format downloads based on region (i.e. 68k downloads of Braille in Europe and the Middle East)
  • The average number of alternative format downloads per student per region (i.e. 5.6 downloads per student in North America)

At the end, we will discuss how these data can help individual institutions, regardless if they are currently utilizing Blackboard Ally at their school.


  1. Participants will hear unique data points about the prevalence and importance of alternative formats.
  2. Participants will be better positioned to make a stronger argument for greater access, inclusion, and equity.
  3. Participants will acquire ideas about how to elevate course design and pedagogy.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Research, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Krista Greear Wright

An enthusiastic, data-driven individual, Krista is passionate about inclusivity. With over 12 years of experience in higher education accessibility, Krista’s focus is to accelerate the educational landscape regarding digital content. Her expertise is in document and video accessibility, although is interested in web and application accessibility as well.

Leveraging her Master of Education in Educational Technology, Krista is interested in the intersection of accessibility, inclusion, and instructional design. She is excited about improving the educational experience for all students by working with administrators, faculty, and students to make changes at a system level.