#BbWorld18 – General Session Inclusive Education Panel

Session Description: One fundamental challenge in today’s complex education landscape is ensuring that every student has access to an inclusive learning environment. While checking a box to meet legal requirements was once the norm, many schools and institutions are broadening how they think about inclusive education to meet the needs of all learners–regardless of physical or cognitive disabilities or learning preferences – to drive student success. Let’s talk to experts about how they’re changing the conversation around inclusive education, and the culture change that can drive student success for all.


  • Inclusive Education – Meeting learners needs and desires wherever they may be. Ensuring all learners across the spectrum of cognitive and physical abilities, learning styles, and diverse individual needs have access and are supported through educational opportunities.
  • Inclusivity is at the core of Blackboard’s business.
  • Only 1/2 of students who enter higher ed graduate.
  • Panel: Heidi Pettyjohn, Lucy Greco (Francis service dog), Marie Cimitile, Marc Booker
  • How are college doing with students handling students that ask for an accommodation or don’t know they can ask for one?
  • Most colleges are still grappling with how to approach and there is room to grow. The mindset shift is that we have to build our technologies to support students just as we do physical buildings.
  • In higher ed students do have to self identify, syllabus statements are important, and faculty are part of the role in creating native accessible content.
  • We are getting better with providing students with flexible learning options, but most faculty are not prepared to make electronic content accessible.
  • Certain fields seem resistant to creating accessible content, math and other fields do not seem to have the desire to make changes in pedagogy or delivery of content.
  • Sometimes we get in our head what a university is, what we really need is a rethinking of higher ed for all students. Adult students for example have challenges such as financial, family, work, time, etc. We have to take education to students in ways that are more accessible.
  • Adult learners require services that meet students where they are at. The golden rule of adult ed, as we move to meet the working needs of students and our mobile society require an education defined by the students.
  • Faculty role and faculty attitudes – academic freedom you can’t tell the teacher what to do in the classroom, etc. Not all faculty hold this view and there are differences with level of faculty and their experiences. I think faculty are on board, but they are not aware. Most faculty are wanting to share and help students, but may not have the information they need about accessibility. If you want students to be more successful, these are the things you need to do to help them. Help faculty to understand how to bring about how they can make their content and instruction more accessible. Most faculty want to teach and help students.
  • Increasing the capacity of supporting faculty in creating accessible content and to remove the barriers. Providing tools to faculty to make a different. We don’t worry about the faculty that cross their arms and dig in. Students also drive the needs.
  • Some faculty don’t use the LMS that their institution provides.
  • Focusing on captioning for students with documented needs.
  • Compliance and expectations are clear and support is needed as well as training of faculty in accessibility.
  • Are papers and assignments graded and returned promptly? Are there practices that colleges should put in place. Absolutely, students need feedback, students need responses within 24-48 hours, students need good “customer service” these are the universities that will stick around. Rapid feedback is key. Helping students understand the university and change the university for them.
  • Backward design, take the perspective of students and then use that to demystify the process along the way.
  • Adult learners need immediate feedback, and also substantive feedback. Faculty need the tools to diagnose students (retention center, performance dashboard, etc.) and the capability to be responsive through grading feedback. Faculty need the awareness to monitor what is going on and help them to be change agents on the behalf of students.
  • More important that adding captions, it’s not just for students with disabilities. Captioning for example helps for searching content. Accessible content design makes content more rich.

“It’s not just an accommodation, it’s about making education better for everyone.” – Lucy Grecko

  • Faculty in general for the most part care about teaching. But faculty unlike high school teachers are not really trained in how people learn. So many recreate the experiences they had, and some of this is bad. Some faculty are caught in a cycle of tenure, research, etc. that don’t encourage them to become better teachers. Often the environment works against them in becoming actually a better teacher. We have to do a better job of finding the support for them.
  • Do research university devalue teaching? For faculty in research institutions, you can’t do your research without students, so make students a priority!
  • Inclusivity and diversity makes the classroom a better place for all. It’s not just about single individuals it’s about expanding the circle and we need to rise to adapt.
  • The typical student is a very broad group, not the traditional student as we have known.
  • Nothing with us without us. Learn from those with disabilities and engage with those to create inclusive education.
  • Let’s be clear, barriers have existed for a long time, our job is to give voice and amplify those with needs.

One thought on “#BbWorld18 – General Session Inclusive Education Panel

  1. Pingback: GVSU’s eLearning Team Receives Award at National Blackboard Conference | eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU

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