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: 2008-04-07

Time: 2:30 PM EDT; 1:30 PM CDT; 12:30 PM MDT; 11:30 AM PDT


  1. Update on sub-groups activities
    Report by each sup-group leader/co-leader
  2. Update on accessibility related activities at Blackboard by Stephanie Cupp
  3. Defining accessible pages in Blackboard application environment
  4. Accessibility course at Blackboard
  5. Update on reported accessibility issues Behind the Blackboard


General Blackboard Accessibility Teleconference Minutes 04/07/2008
Scribe: Kathy Fernandez, Hadi Rangin

Next meeting


  1. Donald Amos, Pellissippi State Technical Community College
  2. Melinda Pethel, University of Georgia
  3. Nicaise Dogbo, University of Nevada, Reno
  4. Laurie Harrison, University of Toronto
  5. Valerie Claire Haven, UMass Boston
  6. Cindy Poore-Pariseau, Bristol Community College Fall River
  7. mark burris, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  8. Kevin Price, UIC
  9. Stephanie Cupp, Blackboard
  10. Will Murray, Blackboard
  11. Dara millen, Blackboard
  12. Jon Gunderson, UIUC
  13. Hadi Rangin, UIUC
  14. Terry Thompson, The University of Washington
  15. Kathy Fernandes, CSU Chico
  16. Corey Gin, CSU San Jose
  17. Terry Garvin, CSU Fresno
  18. Bret Auernheimer, CSU Fresno
  19. Leslie Kennedy, CSU Long Beach


Update on sub-groups activities
BB Design Sub-group

Jon gunderson, Terry thompson: Design subgroup met. (members need NDA signed)
Subgroup has access to the new release of Vista.
Bb thought the subgroup would just go through the interface.
Misunderstanding whether Bb was to have a design representative at the meeting
Subgroup thought that Bb needs to be present in order to discuss perspectives from both sides on what is there and what needs to be there.
Want to meet weekly to get through the user interface
Design group was thinking that they could help brainstorm w/ Bb how to
Terry Thompson – U of Washinton. Met with Will from Bb.
Long-term: find issues and why they exist? Work with Will, what can Bb do to fix that?
Will from Bb: Where it’s determined the areas aren’t accessible, then Bb can make an improvement to make it more ccessible.
What does it mean to have a “title?”
Headers don’t reflect changes as you move throughout the interface.
Stephanie: Listserv doesn’t necessarily say when Bb is suppose to participate or when the message is just for the group.
Hadi: This is a collaborative group to help Bb integrate UDL.

Bb Testing Sub-group

Mark Burris: Still in re-organization process. Completed Bb testing Wiki page:
Purpose of the testing group; process by which we evaluate existing products: communicate back to Behind the Blackboard.
Testing looks at existing products (30 items on the main web page identified to go through). Re-test in a variety of context. And report in a way where a ticket can be created so that fixes can be made to existing products. Appear in upcoming updates and hot fixes. Four items have been reported with a lot more to go. No response to those four items. How do we get feedback from Bb that those have been looked at?
Dara: All 3 issues have been forwarded directly to Bb development. Development is taking them in.
Once an issues is escalated in support (level 1: TSM and level 2: Escalation Mgr). Esc. Mgr looks at the issue and passes on to Development. The Esc. Mgr should let the submitter know that it has been submitted to Development. Two systems are being used between Support and Development. Next few months improvement in the handoff between the systems.
Wiki – a place for everyone to communicate, what they are testing, how they are testing and the results of that. Main page – issues tab has each issue with a full explanation. Updated. 2 places to get all the information: Main and Wiki testing group.
Wiki for discussion and feedback. Mark uses the Main page and coordinating with the Behind the Blackboard.

BB Documentation Sub-group

Kevin Price:

  1. Improve Course Content will be available to any Bb user; give feedback to Bb
  2. Wiki – improving and modifying with more fresh information; linking; what’s being focused on; info on accessibility

QA Sub-group

Hadi rangin: Need guidelines first before this group can become engaged/effective.

Update on accessibility related activities at Blackboard

Stephanie: Update us on Accessibility at Bb
Identified focus areas’
Hinderance before tried to be tackled across the entire suite at once but spreads the group think.
Using analytic data to see high-traffic areas. High priorities like assessments. Assessment is incredibly important – should be highly usable and highly accessible. Making a request to the design group – guidelines provided, preliminary designs and maybe a prototype to review it. Get each area nailed down rather than jumping around the hot spots. Need more fine-grained guidelines as they go. More solid progress and pick up the pace so we move on.
Mark – Can the user get to the Assessment? High-traffic is the interface itself. Headers don’t have tags or duplicate the reading. Major areas right at the get-go need to be addressed. Developers know this? Developers need to see a ticket on each issue. Navigating the frames.

Defining accessible pages in Blackboard application environment

What’s in the Markup? What is the titling philosophy through out the whole program? Why did you develop it the way you did?


Terry Garvin and others in the room @ CSU Fresno How are we testing? How are groups breaking into testing?
13 to 16 points of section 508?
Melinda from Georgia System, Alternative Media Access Center
Providing students with technical support. 800 students.
Preparing to migrate to Vista 8;
Students: 80% learning differences; 20% motor or visual impairment;

Misc topics

GradeCenter was looked at and now it is released; Demo from Bb to see those accessibility features? Still possible?
Hadi: Yes, Contact Mark Burris at for information about the demo server.

Test and evaluation protocol? Hadi: Will be updating testing Protocols used in the past for WebCT. It is based on HTML Best Practices Categories: Navigation & Orientation, Text Equivalence, Scripting, Styling, Standards
Updating the information; See the web site

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