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. This is done using the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®) tool and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA.
More on the VPAT for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 (available in English only)
More on the Learn Accessibility Conformance Statement (available in English only)
More on Blackboard’s commitment to accessibility (available in English only)
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.
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.
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:
The Quick Setup Guide wizard is an accordion object and uses the standard navigation. The wizard opens by default when an instructor opens their course for the first time. You can also access it from the Control Panel by expanding the Customization section. Type "Welcome" in your browser's Find tool and press ESC on your keyboard.
Within the Quick Setup Guide press:
Within the Structures step, you must select a structure to use it. If you do not select a structure, the current structure is used.
Navigate to each structure to read about and preview it. To open the link to learn more about the course structures:
If you leave the Structures step, the current selected structure opens when you return to that step.
To select a structure to use, press the Spacebar on your keyboard to select it. Press the Spacebar again to deselect the structure. Visually, this turns the Use this structure button on and off.
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.
Download a copy of the course archive to customize and facilitate at your own institution. This archive (1.9 MB) is compatible with Blackboard Learn 9.1 SP 8 or above. Do not unzip or open the archive. A System Administrator must restore the course to the system.
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, see the Blackboard Learn Screen Reader Tutorial.