CoSector – University of London, the provider of choice for products and services that enhance and enrich learning and education, today (18 Jul) announced that it has formed a new partnership with Blackboard to introduce Blackboard Ally to help its customers in the education sector improve accessibility and inclusion for students.

Enhancing access to course content is a growing concern for institutions around the world as they focus on improving learning outcomes for everyone regardless of their learning needs or choices. Blackboard Ally is a revolutionary product that focuses on making digital course content more accessible for all learners. It integrates with an institution's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and automatically runs course materials through an accessibility checklist that looks for common accessibility issues. Blackboard Ally generates a range of alternative formats for the instructor's original content including Semantic HTML, audio, ePub, electronic Braille and various translated versions. It also provides educators with guidance for improving accessibility of their course materials and reports on the current state of content accessibility at both the course and institutional level.

Clare McSheaffrey, Head of Marketing and Events at CoSector – University of London, says: “Blackboard Ally has an impact on the entire student population, offering a variety of alternative ways for students to access course content according to their personal circumstances. It’s not just about those with declared or undeclared disabilities, but about being inclusive and sensitive to the requirements and preferences of all students accessing their course content online.”

Jeremy Cooper, Vice President Europe at Blackboard says: We are really thrilled about this partnership with CoSector – University of London. We are looking forward to working together to bring our accessibility solutions into the hands of teachers and students and help contribute to a more inclusive learning environment.”

The Bloom team at CoSector – University of London supports over 150 VLEs in educational institutions throughout the UK, and worldwide, for over 12 years and strives to improve the learning experience for students. The Bloom team also offers support, consultation, application development, project work and much more to improve the working environment for academics and administrators.

Matt Hull, Digital Services Consultant, CoSector – University of London also adds: “Technology-wise, there really isn’t any other like-for-like solution in the UK at the moment.  All the alternative formats are stored on the Blackboard Ally servers, so there won’t be any additional storage requirements for the institution’s VLE. I think this partnership is a great addition to our Bloom offering.”

About CoSector – University of London: CoSector is a department of the University of London, carrying out Digital Services, Recruitment Services, Housing Services and Fairs and Events. CoSector was formed in 2015 by bringing together three previously separate divisions within the central university to share resources, expertise and joined-up thinking to provide relevant solutions for our customers in the education sector. 

Our work contributes to the University of London and its charitable objectives. Our aim is to enrich education and learning through sustainable and innovative services. This is why we are the trusted choice by over 300 UK institutions and 3 million HE and FE students. We improve student and staff experience through our expertise, and have expanded to work with non-educational clients, too.  

Our vision is to be thought leaders in the sectors we work in, sharing our knowledge and work so that individuals, education providers and businesses will grow. 

We are based in the iconic University of London building Senate House as well as the University's Student Central building. 

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