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: 2008-02-01

Time: 2:00 PM EDT; 1:00 PM CDT; 12:00 PM MDT; 11:00 PM PDT (Duration: 2 hours)


Hello Everyone,

Several proactive BB Documentation group members have started working on compiling Best Practices for instructional designers. They believe before instructional designers can advise faculty for universal design principals, they have to first learn about the accessibility problems with various document types and various technologies used in the E-learning environment.

We came up so far with the first draft for web-based instructional materials and we had our first session on Best Practices for MS Word last week. We are planning to continue working on compiling Best Practices for Instructional Designers for MS PowerPoint, PDF, Flash, and possibly Captivate.

The minutes from previous session are available at:

Marc Thompson who has investing a lot of effort into this project, has scheduled a teleconference for this Friday February 1st, 2008 from 1-3 PM Central time. (See the meeting info below. In this session we will covering the remaining topics and revisit the subjects we needed more research for.
To make the meeting more productive and engaging, we would like to ask all participants to spend a few minutes time researching and studying selected topics and present the related accessibility subjects. I have assigned the outstanding topics to those individuals who showed interest for this project. please check for your name and topics below. You don't have to be expert and know everything about accessibility to present the assigned topic to you. We would like that you just get involved and do some basic research on the assigned topic to you. This will be the first time I would like to practice this technique at the teleconference and i have no idea if it would be a successful approach or not. Let us please try it together.

This is the list of colleagues I have assigned one or two topics for the next teleconference. please check for your name. If your name doesn't appear (lucky you) and would like to participate actively that I am very proud of and be one of these wonderful proactive members, please let me know.

  1. Lisa fiedor
  2. Kostas Yfantis
  3. Vance Martin
  4. Marc Thompson
  5. Cath Stager-Kilcommons
  6. Cheryl Todd
  7. Kristen Freilich
  8. Anne-Marie Armstrong
  9. Ken Petri
  10. Don Amos
  11. Norma Scagnoli
  12. Philip Kragnes
  13. Christy Blew
  14. Nancy Swenson
  15. Marsha S.
  16. Nolan Crabb

Outstanding issues

  1. Background: (Don Amos, Kristen Freilich)
    • Is there any best practices for combining text color with the background color?
    • Can you use background images in MS Word?
    • Does MS Word have a function for testing the high-contrast?
  2. Multi-language contents: (Lisa Fiedor, Cath Stager-Kilcommons)
    • Can you have a second language definition for selected area in a document?
    • Can screen reader identify the defined language?
    • Does Spell-check handles spell-checking according to the language defined for different area and how screen readers handle the spell-check dialogue box?
  3. Themes: (Don Amos, Marsha S.)
    • What's a Theme and what is used for?
    • Does selection of a specific theme effect accessibility of a document?
  4. Frame: (Nancy Swenson, Nolan Crabb)
    • What is a frame and where is it used?
    • Does it effect accessibility of a document?
    • Can you navigate to a frame just with the keyboard?
  5. Form: (philip Kragnes, Cheryl Todd)
    • Can you associate a form control with its text label similar to Label element in HTML?
    • How can you move from one form control to another with keyboard only without destroying its format?
    • Can you prevent cursor from moving away from the text box?
    • Can the layout be locked to avoid unintentional change in format?
  6. objects: (Norma Scagnoli, Lisa Fiedor)
    • What's the difference between Objects... under Format and Objects under Insert?
    • What are the potential accessibility problems with each object?
  7. Textbox: (Anne-Marie Armstrong, Vance Martin)
    • Is Textbox a problem?
    • Do screen reader offer a mechanism to navigate between textboxes?
    • Do the relationships between textboxes are identifiable by screen readers?
    • What is an alternative to Textbox?
  8. Diagram/organizational chart: (Kostas yfantis, Nolan Crabb)
    • How diagram and organizational chart appear in screen readers?
    • do diagram have Alt tag property?
    • Is there any recommendation/best practices how to use these features/
  9. Templates: (Marc Thompson, Ken Petri)
    • What is a template and what's the benefit of it?
    • Can layout or formatting be changed unintentionally?
  10. Images: (Ken Petri, Nancy Swenson)
    • is placing an image in a table a bad practice?
    • What is the best technique to place an image in a document?
    • What's the important of setting the alt tag for a decorative image to null?
    • Tips for providing alt tag for informational graphics?
    • Is there any Best Practices for Image grouping?
    • How can a Chart as an image be made accessible?
    • What should be done with Scanned documents?
  11. Lists: (Marsha S., Philip Kragnes)
    • What are Ordered/Unordered lists and what is the best way to use them?
    • Starting asterisks for crating unordered and number for creating ordered list vs. use of Bullet and Numbering feature
    • Is disabling autoformat a good practice?
    • Do nested lists cause accessibility problem?
    • Is it important to change bullet types in nested unordered lists?
  12. Charts: (Christy Blew, marsha s.)
    • Copy/pasting a chart vs. inserting a chart?
    • Best way to create charts?
  13. Misc: (Kostas Yfantis, Vance Martin)
    • use of ASCII art symbols to create graphics: An accessibility problem?
    • Flashing contents: An accessibility problem?
    • Creating table of contents: Any benefit?

Meeting info


This time the session will be recorded. This could potentially help us with the minutes later.

Thanks everyone and hope to talk to you all this Friday.


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