Blackboard Accessibility Interest Group

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

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

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Teleconference Details

Date: 2008-01-07

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. Panel discussion/presentation on Accessibility and collaboration at BBWorld 2008


General Blackboard Accessibility Teleconference Minutes for Monday, Jan 07, 2008
Scribe: Laurie Harrison

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Action Items

  1. Stephanie will send email update to the testing sub-group members.
  2. Next meeting of the QA sub-group will be organized by Jon Gunderson and take place on Wednesday, January 23.
  3. Hadi Rangin will organize the panel discussion proposal for Blackboard World.


  1. Hadi Rangin
  2. Jon Gunderson
  3. Laurie Harrison
  4. Brendan ?
  5. Nicaise Dogbo
  6. Kristen Freilich
  7. Valerie Claire Haven
  8. Lisa Fiedor
  9. Saroj Primlani
  10. Mark Burris
  11. Dean Brusnighan
  12. David Schwarte
  13. Laurie Holden
  14. Anne Marie Armstrong
  15. Allen Maynard
  16. Steve Lee
  17. Stephanie Cupp
  18. Ella Herz
  19. Thomas (Bb)
  20. Will Murray
  21. Alex (Bb)


Update on sub-groups activities
  1. Testing Sub-Group
    Jon Gunderson reported that before the holidays Testing Sub-group members had tested a specific utility and continue to wait for updates on the test site. When updates are available to group members additional testing will be undertaken. Stephanie noted that she will send email update to the testing sub-group members specifically.
  2. Documentation Sub-Group
    Hadi Rangin reported that the group is continuing to gather documentation that can be used by a range of users, developers and support staff. Blackboard is developing a “course” that will target Blackboard users. Input from the documentation sub-group will be requested for this project and it is hoped that it will be available in late January. Hadi invites contributions from all colleagues. Next meeting will take place on January 30; see for more details.
  3. QA Group
    Ella reported that Blackboard did purchase WebXM as an accessibility evaluation tool and will be getting training later in the month. Initially the evaluation tool will be used manually, and later Blackboard will be exploring potential for automated testing and will be involved in consultation with the vendor on how to use effectively. No one in the interest group has seen the full tool, however it was expressed that the concern is rather the level of granularity of testing. Saroj Interest recommended that the QA Group advise on criteria for testing. Jon expressed concern regarding ensuring that the product be appropriate for testing a web application (vs. web pages). Thomas commented that the Blackboard procurement criteria included the following requirements:
    • Crawling
    • Customization of rules or select rules
    • Customization and script work flow (ie auto fill forms)
    Use cases were used to select the product with consideration being given to how well it can work in the context of their work process. Blackboard will be checking for 508 and W3C Level 1 & 2 compliance. The QA sub-group will take the further discussion within their meeting. Next meeting of QA will be organized by Jon and take place on Wednesday, January 23.
  4. Idea Group
    Hadi reported that the group has not had any meetings as they expected to be prompted by Blackboard at appropriate point in development cycle. Jon suggested that some of the high priority issues related to accessibility and authoring tools be addressed by this group and lengthy discussion of the role of this group followed.. Hadi pointed out that the Documentation group provides resources related to existing tools regarding authoring. Stephanie suggested that new ideas be brought by Blackboard to general group for brainstorming. Hence the Idea group is being transformed to an Ad hoc group/process to be initiated as needed.
Panel Discussion at Blackboard World:

Jon asked for expressions of interest in submitting a proposal for a panel presentation at Bb World. Proposals are due Feb 22. The even takes place July 15 – 18 in Las Vegas. It was suggested that a panel discussion including a rep from Bb and/or reps from various sub-groups and that an interactive session would allow questions. Hadi will follow up on organizing a submission, but welcomes input from others.

Pending Issues

Hadi requested an update on pending issues identified in a previous meeting. Stephanie reported that she is still working on a response.

Vista Releases
Hadi expressed concern that the Interest Group will not be consulted during the testing of new features for the upcoming Vista release.

Stephanie has already sent an email on the matter and requested that she and Hadi discuss off line.

General meetings for 2008

Meetings have been scheduled for the first Monday of each month to end of 2008, except Sept. which conflicts with Labour day holiday.

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