For a growing number of colleges and universities, developing an online learning program has become an important element in their strategic mix. Recent research shows that more than half of enrolled students taking at least one online course, and almost 3 million students are taking courses exclusively online. An online program is also a valuable way to offer an inclusive learning environment. An inclusive program provides all students, including those with significant disabilities, equitable opportunities to receive effectual educational services. As many as 60 to 80% of North American undergrads and 9% of graduate students choose not to disclose their disability when they enter higher education. Quality online programs take advantage of the many capabilities offered by technology and interactive tools to make coursework engaging and to best present material to learners. Technology also offers tremendous capability to address the challenges facing learners with disabilities. This showcase session outlines best practices and solutions offered by Blackboard to develop quality, accessible programs. The key to building a quality, inclusive eLearning environment combines technology with accessible content and a strategic plan. An inclusive learning environment goes beyond accessible course content, ensuring that the needs of learners are met throughout an entire learning lifecycle.
Topic Area(s): Accessible & Inclusive Technologies
With 20 years of experience in higher education, as faculty and chair of the first online Interpreter Training Program, Director of eLearning, and 12 years with Blackboard, Scott Ready has led institutions globally in furthering adoption and implementation of online programs. Scott was the Assistant Director of the Kansas Commission for the Deaf.