Blackboard Accessibility Interest Group

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

All Teleconferences

Teleconference Details

Date: 2007-12-03

Time: 2:30 PM EST; 1:30 PM CST; 12:30 PM MST; 11:30 AM PST  


  1. Update on sub-groups activities
    Report by each sup-group leader/co-leader
  2. Update on already reported issues in the Issue list
  3. Involvement of the group in the Vista release
  4. Audit of the Release 6.1 and 7.1 of the Blackboard Academic Suite using Automated (HiSoftware) and manual (screen reader users)
  5. HTML & CSS validation


General Blackboard Accessibility Teleconference Minutes for Monday, Dec. 03, 2007
Scribe: Laurie Harrison

Next Teleconference

Action Items

Hadi requests follow up on the following items as priorities:

  1. Involvement of group on Vista testing
  2. Follow up on already reported issues in current and previous releases.


  1. Hadi Rangin
  2. Laurie Harrison
  3. Anne Marie Armstrong
  4. Nicaise Dogbo
  5. Terry Thompson
  6. Allen Maynard
  7. Steve Lee
  8. Dean B. Purdue University
  9. Jon Gunderson
  10. Nancy Swenson
  11. Kathleen Bastedo
  12. Phil Kragnes
  13. Ella Herz, Blackboard
  14. William Murray, Blackboard
  15. Alex, Blackboard


1. Sub-Groups Reporting
Blackboard Testing Sub-Group Report

Reporting: Terry Thompson

New Grade Centre is being tested, with initial review and reporting by testing group members having been completed. After several weeks of regular meetings, teleconferences among group members are suspended until updated build is available as the group is currently standing by, waiting for integration of their suggestions for improvement by Blackboard. Major issues were identified and these issues have been entered formally into the Blackboard development process tracking system. Initially the group has been looking at instructor mode with focus on navigation. Screen reader and keyboard testing has occurred. If others in the group are interested in participating in this activity please contact Terry.

QA Sub-Group Report

Reporting: Ella Herz
Last week’s meeting for this sub-group discussed best practices for testing application of this scale and how the application can be broken down into smaller modules for review. Blackboard is investigating Evaluation Tools such as WebXM with possility of licencing/acquisition in January to enable a more systemic approach. There will be a meeting on this January 30th. Hadi will contribute criteria/priorities for testing tools functionality. Clarification around mandate confirmed that this sub-group focuses on development of practices and areas of focus.

Documentation Sub-Group Report

Reporting: Hadi Rangin
The work of the documentation sub-group is targeting the following stakeholder groups:

This information is currently available as a work in progress in the sub-groups page in the Wiki for Documentation Sub-Group. Resources are currently being collected. These resources will be organized, updated and made more usable to the community. Many contributors have posted documents which can be seen at:

2, Outstanding Issues – Review Process

Reporting: Will Murray
Some of these remaining issues from Vista (16) and Bb (10) are still being addressed for current/past releases. The list of issues are being reviewed and noted as resolved or open. Through review of current status of outstanding issues the gaps are being identified. May be fixed or included in guidelines for future development as appropriate.

3. New Release of Vista

Hadi Rangin asks how we can participate in review of anticipated new Vista release. Will had no information at this time but will be consulting with Stephanie.

4. Blackboard use of HiSoft for testing.

Reporting: Ella Herz
Ella stated that Stephanie was coordinating this and that no detailed information was available at this time. She indicated that WebXM is being considered for purchase. It is configurable for various guidelines (508, WAI WCAG). This software acts as a crawler to review the application and create reports that are used by developers to correct code. Hadi asked if it reviews for Functional web accessibility. Jon expressed concern that review requires human intervention; encouraged review of navigation components. Ella suggested that WebXM was the most automated in the creation of content as part of the review process.

Stephanie responded to this problem via an e-mail and wrote: "Blackboard is not using these tools internally. The document outlines that a third party performed the audit and used these advanced tools for their evaluation."

5. HTML & CSS validation

Accessing Frame Hadi asked about strategy for access to source code for Frame-based pages. He has had difficulty in viewing source code of the frames. It was suggested that he route JAWS to PC Cursor to access source code for the frame.

Hadi also raised issues he has had with validating pages. (ie doc type, CSS, frameset). Ella stated that Stephanie will be following up. Frameset coding was discussed as inconsistencies in DOM are problematic. For example some instructor links are not navigable by keyboard and screen reader. Ella suggested it would require review. Currently she doesn’t believe they are testing to address this specific issue with screen readers, though readability of doc types is checked.


New members were encouraged to participate in Sub-Group activities.

Edit teleconference

Discussion List