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: 2007-03-05

Time: 1:30 PM CST



Minutes WebCT Accessibility Interest Group 03/05/2007
Scribe: Lisa Fiedor

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Hadi expressed our appreciation to Robert for his participation.

Robert is now responsible for more applications than before. He advised that select issues identified by this group may be able to be incorporated in application packs or patches. He is working on issues of how to educate developers, and is looking into inviting someone to present to them. He has spoken to QA, and may be able to have someone speak to them about testing. They found the functional accessibility testing to be helpful. He has been told to be as aggressive as possible to further accessibility issues within the company. He is going to try to have a testing server set up for this group that will be updated frequently as changes are added. Robert would like to have someone from this group participate in a customer/client partnership group. He has requested that this time be held open for him to participate in these teleconferences.

Jon asked how can we achieve a strategic partnership with Blackboard?

Robert affirmed that it is important for people in this group to be involved in these partnerships.

Jon stressed the importance that head Educational Technology people be aware of the importance of accessibility issues, and convey that importance in some way to Blackboard. Robert stressed that it's important to have someone knowledgeable about accessibility involved in committees that discuss changes to products.

Saroj stressed that importance and asked how we can get into these meetings. Robert has been talking with the person that runs them to see if we can get someone from this group in those discussions. Jon asked what are the appointments for these groups? Robert replied that with WebCT people were selected to terms of several years, and had some rotation. He has inquired about people from this group be involved as an early product Beta tester.

Jon asked about becoming a regular user group for Blackboard. Robert said he could get us listed as a user group on the website (*Action Item*).

Robert manages a user interface team, and has been educating Blackboard about working with users.

Hadi stressed that accessibility needs to be incorporated in the development process. Robert suggested that we need to be involved with early Beta testing of new product technologies. Robert is trying to catch developers during the research stage to assure that accessibility is being addressed.

Saroj asked about Blackboard's technical support for accessibility issues. Robert is looking into this.

Hadi asked about the consideration of accessibility in upgrade and QA processes. Robert replied that Blackboard would send things out to be evaluated by a third party and would pick and choose from the resulting report what would be incorporated into the product. He said this process should be improving now that Blackboard has this user interface team.

Robert has requested that his UI team review products for accessibility before they gets to QA.

Jon asked if we can get a contacts in the QA and Technical Support groups, instead of having Robert filter issues. Robert said he will work on this (*Action Item*).

Hadi asked what is the status of the merger of Blackboard and WebCT products? Robert replied that the products will be separate for a while.

Jon suggested creating one central interest group to coordinate accessibility issues, which can separate to address specific products. Groups can combine resources to address issues that impact both Blackboard and WebCT products.

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