Best practices and practical examples to improve accessibility in Blackboard

Dr. Jennifer Ellis
Assistant Professor at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Courses incorporate universal design principles, and are accessible to blind, deaf, and mobility impaired students.  Best practices and practical examples to improve accessibility in Blackboard Learn include some of the following recommendations:

  • Record your lectures so that students can review later.  Use Camtasia, Bb Collaborate or some other software to record lectures. Post your lectures in various file formats such as MP4 and Flash. Lectures should include transcripts and saved in various formats such as MS Word and PDFs.
  • When grading and providing feedback, consider audio feedback.  For example, numerous Track Changes comments in Word can be tedious to listen to in a screen reader.
  • Remove unneeded modules in Bb Learn for ease of entry for those with disabilities.  This way the screen reader will not have to go through all the modules to find your course.
  • Ensure students can access all material with a keyboard only. Use keyboard shortcuts.
  • Blogs and Journals are more compliant then Discussion boards. Screen readers interpret Blogs and Journals better than threaded Discussion boards.
  • Organize content folders with clear, short headings for each folder. Do not add additional text underneath each folder as it takes additional time for the screen reader.
  • Label files clearly and provide in numerous formats (Assignment-Instructions.doc,  Assignment1-Instructions.pdf).
  • Make files open in a new window instead of within Blackboard as it works better for screen readers.
  • Use Alt tags for all images and video.
  • Use MashUp YouTube videos that have Closed Captioning.
  • Provide multiple file formats to ensure all users will be able to access the information with their respective technology (*.swf, *.mp4, etc.)



About clkautz
Affiliate Faculty School of Computing and Information Systems Grand Valley State University

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