AWS Public Sector Blog

Inclusive Cloud Innovation Levels the Playing Field for Students with Disabilities

From EdTechs to higher education institutions, customers are thinking big about leveraging the AWS Cloud to build inclusive solutions for learners with cognitive and physical disabilities. Read on to learn more about how these pioneers are transforming the education industry with assistive learning technology.

  • Instructors at California State University (CSU) – Chico use Blackboard Ally to make digital learning content more accessible by automatically running course materials through an accessibility checklist. Behind the scenes, Ally leverages machine learning algorithms to identify common issues with learning content. Ally integrates into the learning management system (LMS) and outputs include different modalities of original content like Semantic HTML, audio, ePub, electronic braille, and language translation. Within the LMS, instructors gain access to institutional reporting on student usability and accessibility score. The university started phase one of Ally with an overall content accessibility score of 35%, which is close to the national average, but after six weeks of work with a pilot group, that number reached 80%.
  • Students at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst use Echo360 to access engaging, active learning environments that extend beyond the classroom. Echo360’s cloud-based platform provides a classroom video capture and distance learning platform that enables students to review recorded lectures and classroom activities alongside a transcript. Echo360 uses Amazon Transcribe, an automatic speech recognition service, to add speech-to-text capability and closed-captioning. Transcripts are then catalogued to provide a smarter search experience. For students at UMass Amherst, increased access to real-time content creates a more equitable learning environment where all learners have the same tools. For example, a student with a sensory disability (for instance, a student who has difficulty hearing) can experience a lecture with transcribed class content.

Want to learn more? Get caught up on how AWS customers innovate to remove barriers to entry for students by checking out the blog and tuning into the public sector podcast.