The Power of Flexibility and Choice: Examining Alternative Format Usage Before, During and After COVID-19


Presented at 2:15pm in Colorado I-J on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • Christopher Aldin, Director of Product, Anthology
  • Nick Lum, CEO, BeeLine Reader

Session Details

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


2020 saw a huge shift towards digital content and online learning. Looking at it through a data focused lens, this session dives deeper into how institutions and students navigated that shift in the years that followed and how some of the lessons learned can continue to help students around the world learn in ways that work best for them.


How is the educational community tackling the barriers to inclusion while emphasizing flexibility and choice to empower diverse 21st century learners in the post-COVID digital landscape? In the years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Anthology Ally has been monitoring the patterns driving student usage of content and highlighting the value of having multiple modes of engagement both in and outside of the classroom.

In this analysis of trends while leveraging data from Anthology Ally and BeeLine Reader, we will look at insights from before, during and the years after 2020 to identify specific ways educational institutions are leveraging the power of alternatives for student content and how it has positively impacted students around the world. We’ve also looked at how new formats, including some launched during 2020 and in the following years have helped accelerate that shift in the digital student experience. By looking at how students are applying greater autonomy and choice to how they learn, attendees will be able to discuss new ideas and consider new ways that inclusive learning approaches can transform post-COVID 21st century learning. Together we will also bust some of the prevalent myths that still exist around creating more inclusive environments to show that these approaches truly benefit everyone.


  1. Increasing student autonomy and choice empowers learners and creates equity
  2. Alternative Formats directly contribute to student success
  3. Everyone benefits from a more inclusive approach to content

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Research, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning

Speaker Bio(s)

Christopher Aldin

Chris Aldin is currently Director of Product for Anthology Ally where he works with institutions all around the world to create better, more inclusive content for all learners. With an extensive background working in digital education and content after an early consulting career, he is passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to and benefits from the best possible content available.

In addition to his experience with Ally, Chris has spent time in the online cybersecurity training industry focused on building more inclusive online training experiences. Before joining the Ally team, he spent almost 7 years in higher education publishing focused on building and designing custom and inclusive digital educational products while managing the production and distribution of some of the largest digital content libraries in North America. This experience, coupled with his passion for inclusive learning, continues to drive Chris forward to deliver impactful products and experiences that increase student success both inside and outside of the classroom.

Nick Lum

Nick Lum is a social impact entrepreneur whose work has been covered in the New York Times, NPR, and BBC. He has spoken about text accessibility at CSUN and A11y Camp Bay Area, and has given talks at Stanford University, the United Nations Solutions Summit, and the World Forum for Democracy.