Blackboard as a platform is designed and developed in accordance with the internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) Guidelines as well as the Section 508 standards in the United States. As long as the following points are considered, your course-shells will meet the accessibility standard:
Any documents (such as MS Words, PowerPoint, PDF) that you upload to Blackboard should be formatted according to our guidelines. For video and audio contents make sure to provide captions or at least transcripts to go along with the attachments (if you are not familiar with captioning multimedia content, this page will give you a good overview to get you started).. For image files (Jpegs, PNG, Tiff, etc.), upload via “Build Content“–>”Image” (as oppose to “file” or “item”), and define alternative Alt-text for them. Alt text should be simple and succinct and describe exactly what the image is. If the image is a diagram that conveys more complicated information a long description or textual format of the material is required.
Content directly entered on Blackboard
The rules for any content directly posted on Blackboard (including announcements, discussion forums, test questions, item description, etc.) are basically the same as with MS Words. Use San Serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, Franklin Gothic, Andika, etc.) for universally better readability. Use the “Formatting and Style” that’s available in the text box meu. If the document is expected to be printed, use font-size no smaller than 12pt.
As with any type of course materials, ensure that you provide your students with clear expectations, instructions and directions for all activities on Blackboard. Students with learning disabilities can have trouble focusing on even simple tasks. Clear directions (including how to submit assignments on specific areas and tools on Blackboard) and understandable expectations can help all students focus and making them much more likely to succeed.
For an example, if you are using Discussion board on Blackboard, make sure to include a note on how to use the tool under the assignment instruction. You might want to add a note like this within the assignment instruction:
To post your response, click on this forum title, and then click on “Create Thread.” All responses will be posted as threads, and you can click on each thread to read your classmates’ responses. To respond to someone’s response/comment, click on the “Reply” button right below it. Especially in threads with multiple participants/responses, make sure to click on the “Reply” button right below the comment that you are responding to.
Things to avoid..
- long URLs (use hyperlinks instead)
- Underlines (reserve the use of underlines for hyperlinks)
- Extended spacing using space bar or tabs (create a simple table instead)