First-Generation Students, Inclusivity and Alternative Formats


Presented at 8:00am in Gov Square 10 on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



  • Lisa Andion, Dr., Blackboard

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Interactive/Discussion
  • Expertise Level: Not provided
  • Type of session: General Conference


First-generation students struggle to succeed. An inclusive classroom that recognizes and adjusts to the needs of first-generation students can have a positive impact on their success. This session asks the question, "How can learning technology help my first-generation students succeed?" Ally provides students with alternative formats to course content to meet their unique needs.


This session will be part lecture and part interactive discussion. Attendees will be asked to discuss their assumptions about student learning particularly when it comes to first-generation students. Participants will be asked to consider how they have supported their first-generation students in the past or if they have been aware of the unique challenges of this group of students who may also be culturally and ethnically diverse. Ally's alternative formats can help provide a more accessible and inclusive classroom experience for their students. These alternative formats include translations of files into twenty-four languages to assist those students who may be struggling with language acquisition. Alternative formats such as the various HTML versions are readily available via the Blackboard App so students that rely on mobile devices primarily for access to their course materials are able to read/review content in a mobile friendly format. The epub format is also a powerful tool for students that wish to have the content read out loud to them as well as allow them to read along and take notes. This functionality is beneficial for students who require additional time with content for comprehension and/or mastery. Other alternative formats such as the audio and OCR versions offer students options to meet their needs in an on-demand format without requiring them to ask for assistance or self-identify as requiring an accommodation - something first-generation students fail to do more often than non-first generation students. Ally's alternative formats make content in online classes more accessible for all students but especially for first-generation students they can also provide a more inclusive classroom experience.


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    Speaker Bio(s)

    Lisa Andion

    Lisa Andion, EdD is a Sr. Solutions Engineer at Blackboard, Inc. and focuses on working with institutional leadership and faculty on implementing technology solutions that can address the big challenges facing higher education today. Her interests center around student success and equity in the classroom experience, particularly for first-generation Latinx students. She recently completed her EdD in Organizational Leadership of Higher Education from Northeastern University. Prior to completing this work she earned her MA in Latin American Studies at American University and her BA in International Politics of Latin America and Spanish at American University.