Accessibility statement

Blackboard Catalyst Award winners announced

Posted on 12 July 2021

We are delighted to announce that Amy Eyre from Student and Academic Services has won the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Community Engagement, and that the University E-Accessibility Working Group has won the Inclusive Education award.

The annual Catalyst Awards recognise and honour innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where millions of educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology. Winners are selected by a team of Blackboard experts and represent the very best in their field.

The Community Engagement award recognises dedication to improving student achievement by fostering a connection between schools, institutions, educators, students and their communities. 

Amy Eyre from the Programme Design and Learning Technology Team was honoured for her ongoing work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to help colleagues to start using webinar platforms.

She has co-led the Mobile and Collaborate (MoCo) User Group, which is attended by staff at many different institutions around the world; generated large quantities of support documentation relating to the Collaborate platform; been part of the Blackboard Community Leadership Circle; presented at conferences; surveyed users; and has been heavily active on Blackboard Community/Bb Techie Slack. 

The Inclusive Education Award honors a team whose methods have ensured their pedagogy, content, technology, and educational services are fully inclusive and supportive of all learners. They have taken specific steps to rethink how learning is achieved and have provided the means to help students succeed.

Since November 2018 the University's e-accessibility working group has overseen the provision of accessible digital systems and related training. The group has coordinated the University’s response to the digital accessibility regulations for teaching, learning and assessment. 

The group successfully shifted digital accessibility practice across the University by using Kotter’s 8-step change process to plan for change, using evidence and data to drive behaviour change and evaluating impact at the end of each phase. 

They have led on the scope of accessibility requirements and the delivery of training and support to departments, including a full review of VLE content, coordination of student interns to support departments in reviewing their own teaching content, with the delivery of dedicated creating accessible document workshops. They have also rolled out Blackboard Ally across the University, securing new accessibility software such as Texthelp and promoting this to staff, drafting and critically evaluating a digital accessibility tutorial, and drafting the University’s video captioning policy.

They made a significant contribution to staff and students’ digital experience, resulting in people working together to solve accessibility problems. Their outputs have been shared widely across the sector.

“We’re pleased to honour this year’s Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to improving the educational experience for all learners through EdTech and sharing these insights with the broader community,” said Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer and President, Global Markets at Blackboard. “We’re proud to partner with institutions who are innovating to advance student success.”