Creating an accessible environment and enabling student success

Handouts Media

Scheduled at 9:15am in WB III on Thursday, November 16 (2017).



  • Christopher Aldin, Product Marketing Manager - Accessibility, Blackboard
  • Nicolaas Matthijs, Product Manager - Blackboard Ally, Blackboard

Session Details

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


Creating an accessible learning environment can benefit all students. In this session we will discuss some of the challenges we face today and how you can improve accessibility through planning, design and the use of available technology and consider the needs of all learners.


Students, instructors and institutions across the world are faced with challenges today when it comes to accessibility in education. One key to student success lies in creating an accessible and inclusive environment that considers the needs of all learners. As technology tools continue to improve and increase the ability for students to interact outside of the physical classroom, it is important to consider each point of the student lifecycle journey to ensure it is accessible and inclusive. Come discuss and learn different ways that you can start thinking more inclusively and use tools and strategies to help create a more accessible environment for your students.


  1. Inclusive course design is important in education today.
  2. Accessible content is better content.
  3. Creating an accessible environment enables student success.

Disability Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Christopher Aldin

Chris Aldin has spent the last 7 years in education technology focused on delivering impactful products and experiences to drive student success both inside and outside of the classroom. Before joining the team focused on accessibility at Blackboard, Chris spent years working in higher education publishing focused on building, designing and delivering accessible products and courses to institutions around the world. Now he works closely with the Blackboard Ally team to help institutions tackle the challenge of content accessibility and build more inclusive environments for all students.

Nicolaas Matthijs

Nicolaas Matthijs 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.