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: 2008-08-04

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


  1. Update on sub-groups activities
  2. Update on accessibility related activities at Blackboard by Stephanie Cupp
  3. BB World 2008 and meeting on the side of conference
  4. Accessibility related documentations (questions from Jon):
    • Is there any special phone number, e-mail, web service or other resources for people with assistive technology related questions or problems with using Blackboard products to contact Blackboard for solutions or reporting problems?
    • How is keyboard support documented in support resources for keyboard only users to reference?
    • How are accessibility features of Blackboard applications documented (i.e. like use of headers) so that people using assistive technologies know what to expect, rather than them trying to figure out what is available for accessibility.
    • Is there a disability support section for instructors related to extending time testing or other issues related to using Blackboard for disability related accommodations.
  5. Potential collaborative projects?
    • Improving accessibility of BB website
    • Making searching for relevant accessibility info easier at BB website
    • Assisstive technology users tutorials project
    • Course/documentation on utilizing BB built-in tools to create more accessible contents
    • Integrating accessibility in BB training workshops


Blackboard Accessibility Teleconference Minutes 08/04/2008
Scribe: Anne-Mary Armstrong

Next Meeting


  1. William Murray, BB
  2. Stephanie Cupp, BB
  3. Dara Millen, BB
  4. Joanna, BB
  5. Mark Burris, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  6. Dom Amos, Pellissippi
  7. Valerie Haven, UMass Boston
  8. Kevin Price, UIC
  9. Andy Jacobson, BB
  10. Hadi Rangin, UIUC
  11. Anne-Marry Armstrong, Wayne State University
  12. Kathy Fernandes, CSU
  13. Lori Holden, CSU
  14. Lisa Fiedor, NCSU


Updates Subgroups
Report and feedback on BB 2008 conference

Good to have a general session on accessibility, made it valid and good for continued work and moving forward
Marc, very positive for him, meeting Stephanie and Melissa Anderson. Sees that it is a process being built into products. Good to put faces and names together and extend relationships. Got contact who may help with testing.
Stephanie: excited to work with different types of colleagues about accessibility (Melissa is part of solutions team, working with clients who might purchase BB, real advantage for everyone). A little surprised on small session from product development on accessibility and tech, only 2 attended. Was there feedback on how to get more to attend? Product management wants to meet you?? Schedule ?? More specific ??? Wednesday session had 20 people.
Marc: would be useful if bb could make presentations on usability and issues, better attendance from BB accessibility interest group, maybe a panel?, incorporate accessibility into more sessions, present accessibility tips.
Kathy: using the term accessibility does not draw on this campus. Faculty usually would like the accessibility topics to integrate with other topics and presentations. Faculty do not come for just accessibility—put into topics that are already hot and popular.
Hadi: Send your ideas/suggestions how to make it more useful and productive.
Stephanie: accessibility features now and future, need to go beyond screen readers, project NG, accessibility of bb web site, working with manager of site and talking about issues, conversation is happening and will share.


Hadi, people need to know what features are supported.
Andy Jacobsons Tech comm. Team at BB end users: answers to questions submitted by Jon

Mark: where is download of present accessibility course found on BB web site?
Andy: Reference center behind BB, search on accessibility, Andy will send email to list to introduce the product.
Hadi: what about other ways of accessing, e.g., magnification?
Andy: want to start with Screen Reader, then take on other Assistive Technology.
Mark: good step forward
Hadi: Is there a support section related to using BB, e.g, extending time for tests?
BB: There are instructions on using and not using timed tests. Also, there are instructions on how one can control when users see information—it is easy to make information available earlier. But, nothing relates the functions to pedagogy or use in Universal Instructional Desugb. There is a need for it to be specific about the uses of such features like timed tests and delayed information when teaching and their effect on learners of all abilities.
Andy: Need to work with BB training team.
Hadi: this information should be available on web, can link from BB site to web. Put accessibility link with information on pedagogy.
Andy: good idea but have to raise to others who control the web site.
Hadi: Make access to accessibility information easier.

Improving accessibility of bb web site

Hadi: Who is contact at BB,
Andy: Might be a support issue, might have to work to get this to be a bigger issue. Support would be place to start.
Hadi: Jason Minkoff???
Andy: Agree that needs to be out so more can google it. Agree pedagogical rationale and support is missing and need to include when training on accessibility and to include links to the pedagogy.
Make it very visible. Director of Creative Services needs to be in on discussion.
Dean: put on web site and within BB. Where it can be googled. If considering buying can find it.
Hadi: Ease of access if very important. Adaptive Tech user tutorial project, Andy, -- partner with GWU, will meet, look at local partner so can go and work with someone who is using screen reader and help to see actual usage and where can improve. Beth is working on it.
Hadi: Good, but everyone has different experiences, need more than one user. Georgia Tech started something like this. Make certain it is practical approach. Would like to be in touch with people at GW so it will be more generic.
Andy: agrees that wider range needs to be used, and Beth can bring the GW results to documentation group. Hadi: Utilizing BB environment for Accessibility?? There are some difficulties, Show ways to use BB to create accessibility content
Andy: Agree, good idea. Execution might be interesting. This is a big idea and very valuable. Is it training or documentation?
Hadi: Incorporating Accessibility in BB workshops?
Andy: working with IDer to make the BB content accessible and then to add pedagogical to training when they go out and can introduce—get into the training workshops. Suggesting having someone on team who can develop a Pre-conference workshop on accessibility.
Hadi: group would like to work with training on developing that kind of workshop. Beth and Dierdre are on BB team.

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