Global Portraits of Inclusion: An Ethnographic Account Of Accessibility in Education

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Windsor on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.



  • John Scott, Ally Product Manager, Blackboard

Session Details

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


During the Blackboard Ally Tour, we visited over 40 colleges, universities, and K12 districts across three continents to learn how they are addressing accessibility challenges and integrating Universal Design for Learning to support students. Through interviews and accessibility data, we share a portrait of inclusive learning from around the globe.


How are diverse educational communities tackling barriers to inclusion and introducing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles into teaching and learning? During the 2019 Blackboard Ally Tour, we visited over 40 community colleges, universities, and K12 districts around the world to learn more about the accessibility challenges they face as well as the strategies they are using to drive a culture shift toward inclusion.

In this ethnographic portrait of inclusive learning from around the world, we triangulate findings from dozens of interviews with academic leadership, instructional technologists, instructors, and students with analysis of accessibility data from Blackboard Ally to generate insights about inclusive learning. From meeting legal requirements, to improving how faculty deliver courses, to providing students greater autonomy and choice in how they learn, attendees will experience the diverse ways inclusive learning approaches are transforming education today.


  1. Increasing student autonomy and choice empowers learners and creates equity
  2. Social justice and student success are drivers in motivating faculty to deliver accessible content
  3. Institutions benefit from data-informed approaches when tackling accessibility challenges at scale

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Research, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

John Scott

John is passionate about supporting teachers adopt new technologies and inclusive pedagogy in their classroom practice. Prior to joining the Blackboard Ally team, he worked on his PhD in Education and New Media at the University of California Berkeley, where he designed, taught, and researched online learning courses focused on collaborative learning, multimodal literacy, and Universal Design for Learning. He did his Masters degree in Education and spent 4 years as a Special Education teacher in New York City public schools, specializing in technology-mediated literacy and learning.