Press Releases

Blackboard Ally Integrates BeeLine Reader to Improve Accessibility of Digital Learning Content for All Students
New alternative format enhances learners' ability to read digital course content efficiently

RESTON, Va., March 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, announced a strategic partnership with BeeLine Reader, a company offering technology that makes reading on screen easier for students of all ages and skill levels. BeeLine Reader’s patented technology adds color gradients to digital text to aid visual tracking and improve reading ability and focus. BeeLine Reader is especially helpful for students with learning disabilities, ADHD, or vision loss, and it is now fully integrated as a standard feature within Blackboard’s accessibility tool, Blackboard Ally. As higher education institutions and K12 districts across the globe shift to remote teaching and learning environments in response to COVID-19, Blackboard is committed to expanding efforts to ensure digital content is accessible for all learners. This integration, which follows an overwhelmingly positive multi-institution pilot, reflects this commitment and will allow the millions of students using Blackboard Ally to read digital course content more easily and efficiently.

"We're thrilled to offer BeeLine Reader's unique reading technology to the more than 11 million students who have access to Blackboard Ally," said Nicolaas Matthijs, Product Director for Blackboard Ally. "Our partnership with BeeLine Reader aligns to our mission of empowering learners to choose how they engage with digital course content and helping institutions cultivate inclusive digital learning environments for all learners."

BeeLine Reader is now one of the eight alternative formats available through Blackboard Ally that students can choose to view instructional content. Other formats include mobile-friendly HTML, audio, ePub, electronic Braille, and a language translation version. BeeLine Reader's technology enhances visual focus and decreases the cognitive load associated with reading. Instead of using plain black text, BeeLine Reader applies a subtle color gradient, which wraps from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. This gradient pulls the reader's eyes through the text, enabling easier reading. (Click here to read a BeeLine-formatted version of this press release.) This research-backed tool exemplifies universal design principles, as it helps readers of all skill levels read more efficiently, but it is especially beneficial for English Language Learners and readers with ADHD, dyslexia, or other reading challenges. 

"We are excited to partner with Blackboard and enable millions of students to download BeeLine-formatted documents and learn more effectively directly through Blackboard Ally," said Nick Lum, CEO of BeeLine Reader. "BeeLine Reader is used by students of all types—from the learner who is studying late at night and experiencing eye fatigue to the learner who is overwhelmed by a heavy reading load and wants to read faster, to the learner who has ADHD or dyslexia and needs extra support while reading."

"In today's environment, universities aren't looking to meet accessibility standards; they are looking to exceed them and improve the learning experience for all students," said Jamie Axelrod, Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and Past-President of the Board of Directors at AHEAD. "By consistently expanding its roster of integrations and file formats with additions like BeeLine Reader, Blackboard Ally is helping our community to foster a culture of inclusion." 

To learn more about Blackboard Ally and BeeLine Reader, visit https://www.blackboard.com/accessibility/blackboard-ally and www.beelinereader.com 

About Blackboard
Our mission is to partner with the global education community to enable learner and institutional success, leveraging innovative technologies and services. With an unmatched understanding of the world of the learner, the most comprehensive student-success solutions, and the greatest capacity for innovation, Blackboard is education's partner in change. Learn more at www.blackboard.com and follow @Blackboard on Twitter.

About BeeLine Reader
We make reading on screen easier, faster, and more accessible. Our tools have been used to read hundreds of millions of pages by readers around the world, and our patented technology has won international awards for disability inclusion and social impact. We work with leading education and media platforms to improve learning outcomes and increase reader engagement. For more information, visit www.BeeLineReader.com/partners.

Contact
Hillary Marder
Hillary.marder@blackboard.com

 

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.

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