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: 2007-06-18

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



Blackboard/WebCT Accessibility Teleconference Minutes 06/18/2007
Scribe: Saroj Primlani, Stephanie Cupp, Hadi Rangin

Next Meeting




Update on the letter to Blackboard

Hadi thanks everyone for identifying the key inf=dividuals in their institutions and get the letter of support.

Here's the list of 14 received letter:

  1. City Colleges of Chicago, John H. Dozier, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology & CIO
  2. Colorado State University, Dr. Patrick A. Burns, Vice President for IT
  3. Darthmouth College, Malcolm Brown, Director, Academic Computing
  4. Eastern Illinois University, Michael Hoadley, Assistant VP for Academic Affairs for Technology
  5. Eastern Kentucky University, Dr. Gene Kleppinger, Manager, Online Learning
  6. Governor State University, John Stoll, Dean, University College
  7. North Carolina State, Tom Miller, Vice Provost for Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications
  8. Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, Jennifer Vandever, Director, Academic Computing
  9. University of Illinois at Chicago, Ed Garay, Assistant Director for Academic Computing
  10. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Ken Spelke, Associate Dean for Information Technology and Research
  11. University of Minnesota, Linda Jorn, Director, Digital Media Center, Office of Information Technology
  12. University of New Mexico, Debby Knots, Manager, New Media and Extended Learning
  13. University of Toronto, Marden Paul, Director, Strategic Computing
  14. Wilfrid Lauier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, John Kearney, Director

Hadi: We are still expecting some more letter and we will send them to BB as we receive them.

Date and tentative agenda for proposed on-site visit/training in D.C. in August

scott attended the conference and learned alot about how to use aria; Scott will be training other developers.

bb can provide feedback on the specifications to the working group (maybe we need to get an architect to participate too?)

we mentioned what is going on at bb training in august. since john is not on this call, scott, hadi and john will have to discuss dates over email so that we can nail that down the date as soon as possible.

Stephanie: will send email and set the date meeting with Blackboard group which would include developers and product managers and will focus on discussion on accessibility and concept of universal design.

Questions/concerns to be discussed with Support teams

Jason Minkoff shared thoughts on how Bb Client Support can be involved.
- Totally agrees that technical support needs to be familiar with the basics of assistive technologies. There are alot of requests for support around JAWS.
- Understands that the support team needs to be more familiar with scenarios that users will need.
- Generally all support people are involved in answering question and they do not have a training lab set up with general AT tools to test and replicate issues and to train others. He knows that there are things out there but do not understand the type of work around they could offer.

Hadi: Do you have a section, FAQ or anything on accessibility related issues?

Jason: No formal documentation or manual, except of a couple of knowledge base articles. Now everyone answers questions.

Hadi: how can an issue be reported and recorded as an accessibility issue?

Will: is currently working on bringing accessibility documentation up to date and make them more useful and will contact the group to get suggestions.

Hadi: for those who are more invovled in supporting bb, if instructor is providing extended time they had to created seperate groups for the users that needed more time. Does support know how to recommend to do this?

Jason: mostly we are focusing on installation and less on usage questions.

Saroj: what is it that you would need in an ideal world as an organization to integrate this into your processes? seems to not be on the radar because other things are higher priority - so what would help make it easier?

Jason: the best thing is for us to have the tools that are out there, just like any other type of tool like back up tools etc. there are so many out there. Identifying those that are in most use would help them prioritize the training.

Ed: Especially with NG coming, it would be helpful for a NDA group to come together on the specifications as we start this new work. Several years ago someone was asked to put together a tutorial on how to use Blackboard, but I think it stopped. Would like a sincere document that outlines what is accessible and what is not so that he can point instructors to this document.

Stephanie: discussed the idea of a PDP for developing documentation around accessibility that can be used internally and externally.

Hadi: how can we get clients directed to the right person in support? it seems like there is no way to properly categorize these issues? For example, my cursor will jump out of the text box on the website. It take a while to explain this to the support person and then it would be nice to have it properly routed.

Jason: this is a good question, but to be honest this question comes up for other areas of expertise as well. The goal is to increase expertise in many subsystems, including accessibility.

Many schools are supporting their students directly out of IT and are having to deal with these requests. sometimes it is hard to tell whether or not it is an accessibility issue or a general IT issue. So this is handled locally, but then they go to the vendor for assistance or to report the issue.

Laurie: there is also networking like in the listserv to see if others are experiencing this problem.

Hadi: there are cases of simply missing the problem even when we test it. would be really great if these issues could be identified and routed to the right person.

Hadi: the internal document that we discussed - we are all busy but happy to help.

Phil: we already have two documents up on the website about how to build courses that are more accessible with some tips on the sticky points.

David: has also created some of these types of help documents. they have a newsletter to the users group every month and there was a good article on how to do this.

Stephanie to take action item of talking with Technical Communications on how to see how we can get together in producing some document for helping users.

Everyone to send the group and Hadi any helpful documents such as mentioned above. Hadi will collect them.

Saroj: Would the group be willing to commit to testing the product? In the past there is a problem that they didn't know whether issues were fixed or not.

Saroj and Stephanie: the logistics need to be such that they can test a component and then give feedback and test the next set of changes.

Ed: suggests to break up into groups for all of the projects development is working on.

Who is going to BbWorld so that bb can meet with them? Hadi, Ed

Ed will send an email to the blackboard list to see if anyone wants to get together on accessibility discussions.

Ed wants to hear Michael or Matthew to talk about accessibility at the conference! :)

Saroj: would like to see bb-ers join in other talks such as at Educause

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