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: 2008-02-04

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. Best Practices for Instructional Designers (Marc Thompson, Lisa Fiedor)
  3. Review Blackboard Accessibility Collaboration with Jessica Finnefrock VP of Product Management (Stephanie, Hadi)
    1. the successful release of the Grade Center project and the changes that occurred there
    2. the availability of two releases for review – Release 8 for Learning System Enterprise (Grade Center) as well as Release 8 for Vista and CE6, and the process that we will need to follow for anyone who would like an account to see those releases
    3. the need for a point of contact for reporting issues for the group
    4. the next thing coming– keyboard navigation for NG prototypes 
  4. Using Beyond the Blackboard for reporting accessibility problems
  5. Minor restructuring the subgroups
  6. Panel session on Accessibility and collaboration at BBWorld 2008


General Blackboard Accessibility Teleconference Minutes February 4, 2008
Scribe: Dean Brusnighan

Next meeting


  1. Marc Thompson, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
  2. Allen Maynard, Hadley School
  3. Jane Fridrich, Wilfrid Laurier University
  4. William Murray, Blackboard
  5. Kevin Price, University of Illinois at Chicago
  6. Melinda Pethel, University of Georgia
  7. Philip Kragnes, University of Minnesota
  8. Donald Amos, Pellissippi State Technical Community College
  9. Terry Thompson, The University of Washington
  10. Stephanie Cupp, Blackboard
  11. Dara Millen, Blackboard Inc.
  12. Brandon Taylor, Chicago State University
  13. Dean Brusnighan, Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana
  14. Ella Herz, Blackboard
  15. Nick, University of Nevada
  16. Thomas lin, blackboard
  17. Jon gunderson, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
  18. Hadi Rangin, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign


Update on sub-groups
QA sub-group

Jon Gunderson reports: At last meeting, they realized a disconnect was occurring regarding codes and what was to be tested. They went over what was to be tested. Testing will occur manually in the next month. BB staff will also start using a commercial tool to test pages for accessibility.

BB-DOC sub-group

Kevin Price reports: They will continue to provide feedback to BB. They sent a link to group to review the BB accessibility module. There are members working in several areas within documentation. David Schwarte and Dean Brusnighan will be leading the Development area. Kevin will lead the Support area. The members are continuing to add related bookmarks and websites to the sub-group wiki. The different areas of the sub-group will be coming up with a list of best practices for different users.


Terry Thompson reports: The group is eagerly waiting to hear from BB to test the new build.


Hadi Rangin reports: No activity; the group will be renamed to Design and its function will change (see below)

Best Practices for Instructional Designers

(Marc Thompson reports) This group started in December, aimed at the specific needs of instructional designers. Initially intended to be local, it has already expanded to a nationwide effort. People are enthusiastic and this has become a joint effort. One issue is that existing resources for accessible instructional design are spread out, so the group’s intent is to pull these resources together, and provide links to additional resources. They will be creating an email listserv to discuss these issues. Scope: MS office documents, Flash, Adobe Captivate, Camtasia and others.

Collaboration with VP of Product Management

Stephanie reports: Stephanie and Hadi talked with Jessica Finnefrock about issues of collaboration. BB wants to provide a hosted server demonstrating the progress they are making in each new release. They want to provide access for this Blackboard accessibility group. Example—grade book, so we can log in and see the progress that BB has made. Some great changes were made, and they want to share that success with us.

They also want to share a product with us when it is not released yet, to get our feedback. Each individual will need to sign an agreement before we can get access to these unreleased products.

Stephanie stated that it will be best if one person from the group can report issues using Behind the Blackboard, because then those suggestions/issues get put into the queue immediately. They also know that such issues are from the group, and not from one individual.

Minor Restructuring of Sub-groups

Change Idea subgroup (on-demand feedback on a specific project) to Design subgroup that will be proactive. Group will be looking at code that is interactive—HTML, CSS, etc. Real-life examples are great for the QA team, such as from Hadi. Discussion: Design is not too late in process to effect positive change. Testing subgroup members will join the Design subgroup. Discussion about relative importance of working on current releases versus future releases.

BB World 2008 Conference

Hadi will be attending BBWorld 2008. No one else on the call identified themselves as attending.

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