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Accessibility Information

Last Modified
13:48, 23 Jun 2014

Blackboard is committed to ensuring that the platform is usable and accessible. The code and user interface design techniques are continually audited to ensure that the application is usable by everyone, to the greatest extent possible, regardless of age, ability, or situation.

Blackboard measures and evaluates accessibility levels using two sets of standards: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act issued from the United States federal government and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

A third party conducts audits of our software releases to ensure the accessibility of the products. Blackboard Learn Service Pack 11 (SP 11) was issued an accessibility conformance statement for Web Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA user activities by an independent auditor attesting to conformance with Web Content Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Priority AA.

For Blackboard Learn 9.1's conformance with the accessibility standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act using the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®) tool, see the VPAT for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1.

To learn more about Blackboard’s commitment to accessibility, see http://www.blackboard.com/accessibility.

About the Structure of Blackboard Learn Pages

A logical heading structure is in place to properly structure the page and allow users to navigate using headings. Headings are used consistently throughout the application. This gives users the ability to understand the structure of any page in the application quickly, and move to the appropriate section of the page or content item easily.

As is required, a single H1 is provided to identify the page the user is looking at. In Blackboard Learn, the page title, for example “Course Documents”, is always the H1.

H2 headings are used to delineate major sections of a page. These headings are hidden and allow screen reader users to skip directly to each major page section. For example, a course page has two H2 headings: one for the course menu and one for the main content that is located immediately above the action bar on the content page.

H3 headings are typically used as the title of content items or key content elements on a page. For example, the title of an assignment on a “Course Documents” page is an H3 so the user easily finds it.

To reduce the visual clutter on a page, a number of elements are hidden until they receive either mouse or keyboard focus. After focus is given, these elements become active and follow typical keyboard interaction models.

About Keyboard Navigation

Industry standard keyboard interactions are used throughout Blackboard Learn to move between menus, open menus and select items within a menu. Keyboard navigation patterns differ between browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome), but the interactions within any particular browser are common and consistent.

Note: If you are using a Mac with Firefox or Safari and are having difficulty navigating using your keyboard, review and update your operating system and browser settings. This ensures they are properly configured for keyboard navigation. To learn more, see:

Accessibility Training Resources

Enroll in our free self-paced course, Universal Design and Accessibility for Online Learning, available through CourseSites, for guidance in building courses that are accessible. Click Self-Enroll.

Screen Readers

Blackboard Learn has created a Screen Reader Tutorial to provide users who access the application through a screen reader with information to help them use the system successfully.

To view the tutorial, formatted in HTML, see the Blackboard Learn Screen Reader Tutorial.

Quick Links

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The Quick Links tool allows you to quickly locate any heading or section within any page in the Blackboard Learn application and jump directly to it. 

Located in the top left, the Quick Links icon opens a pop-up window that displays the landmark and navigation links on the page. Any available keyboard shortcuts for the page are also displayed.

To learn more, see Quick Links.

Content Editor Math Formulas

WIRIS provides the Math formula editing capabilities of the Content Editor introduced in SP 10. In SP 10 the WIRIS plugin came in the form of a Java Applet. This meant that math editing was not available to all platforms as java virtual machine capabilities were required on the target platform. SP 12 brings a new WIRIS editor that is based on JavaScript. This removes dependence on Java, enabling full math-editing capabilities on platforms that cannot run java in browsers including iOS. The functionality of the WIRIS math editor is not extended to all platforms capable of running a JavaScript enabled browser.

The move from the non-accessible applet-based editor to a JavaScript-based editor improves accessibility.

To learn more, see Content Editor.

Accessibility Standards

Blackboard measures and evaluates accessibility levels using two sets of standards: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act issued from the United States federal government and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). A third party conducts audits of our software releases to ensure the accessibility of the products. For Blackboard Learn 9.1's conformance with the accessibility standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act using the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®) tool, see the VPAT for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1. For the Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 11 conformance statement for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA, see Learn Accessibility Conformance Statement.

Interactive Tools

We have improved the usability of all of our interactive tools (discussion boards, wikis, blogs and journals). SP 12 introduces usability improvements for everyone, especially those customers that use assistive
technology. The new experience of reading a thread is simple to consume with screen reader technology.
We also removed clutter on the page, so screen reader and keyboard-only users have less to sift through as they navigate the interface.

To learn more about Blackboard’s commitment to accessibility, see http://www.blackboard.com/accessibility.

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