Improve Content Accessibility
Accessible course content makes it easier for everyone to read and access your materials and can help improve overall quality and usability. There are many low-effort adjustments you can make to start creating more accessible content.
See the Accessibility Checklist help page for resources on accessibility.
Many classrooms today, both physical and digital, are integrated with students with diverse needs. Alternative formats provide greater opportunity for everyone to access the information they need in the way they need or want it.
With alternative formats all students can meet the same learning objectives using resources that are built to target the needs of the individual student. For example, Blackboard Ally creates audio and electronic braille alternatives for students with visual impairments.
Alternative formats aren't just for a select group of students. Alternative formats benefit everyone. For example, your students may be prone to eye strain, or maybe they are an auditory learner. They can listen to an audio format of the content instead. Or use the HTML or ePub formats for easier reading on a mobile device.
See the Alternative Formats help page for more information on the types of formats that are available within Blackboard Ally.
Ally provides you detailed feedback and support to help you become an accessibility pro. Learn about accessibility issues, why they matter, and how to fix them. Green is the goal!
After you upload files in your course, Ally produces an accessibility score for each file. In lessons with multiple files, the accessibility score is shown for each file. In areas where you access files, the accessibility icon is located to the right or left of the file.
See the Instructor Feedback Panel help article for more information about the Ally step-by-step guidance.
Preparing to teach a course is a lot of work, and sometimes you might be left with a scanned copy from a book in your files. Unfortunately, scanned texts are very inaccessible, and create lots of challenges for all students to read and study effectively.
When you come across a scanned PDF, do your best to replace it with a proper digital text document.
Scanned PDFs get a low accessibility score indicator.
See the Scanned PDF's help article for more information and tips to making scanned PDF's accessible.
There may be times when you simply can't find a fully accessible version of your course file. As a last best effort, Ally allows you to add some more bibliographic information to the file. Adding this info helps students work with your campus office to find or create an accessible version of the file.
See the Add a Library Reference help article for more information about linking to the library resources.
Headings make navigating documents easier for all. Reading long, dense text documents can be a daunting task for learners. Well-structured documents help students organize and process texts. By using headings in your document styles, you can design sections and sub-sections for your documents. Headings can help students navigate and comprehend texts, and are essential for screen readers.
See the Add Headings to a Document help article for more information.
Headers make navigating tables easier. Using tables in your documents can be a great way to help organize complex information for students. To make sure your tables are effective and accessible, however, you should only use them for data, and not for visual layouts. Adding headers to your tables improves how your students navigate tables, especially if they use a screen reader.
See the Add Headers to Document Data Tables help article for more information.
Ensure that your documents and presentations stay accessible when converting to PDF. Although keeping your content in the original source file is the best way to ensure the document remains accessible, many instructors prefer to export their documents and presentations as PDFs. When exporting as PDF, it's important to check your export settings to make sure that the PDF will be tagged. This makes sure the PDF is easy to navigate.
See the Tag a PDF help article for more information.
Everyone should be able to read your text. Sharing presentations and documents with students can provide them with useful review and study materials. It is important that the text can be seen and is legible. If you want your students to study it, they need to be able to read it.
Ally's contrast checks verify if there is enough contrast between the text color and its background color. Text with poor contrast can be difficult to read for everyone, but especially for students with visual impairments such as color blindness.
Ally uses the contrast requirements specified as part of the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines.
Fix this issue in your presentation or document software and upload a new file when ready. Select the Accessibility score indicator to learn how to do this. Select What this means for an explanation.
See the Fix Text Contrast help article for more information.
Add a rich description to images and graphs to improve comprehension. Images can be a great way to engage your learners with different modes of learning, and can help communicate complex ideas to students. For students with visual impairments, image descriptions that explain the content of an image are crucial for their learning. For all students, text descriptions can provide deeper context to aid their comprehension.
See the Add Image Descriptions help article for more information.
Digital media can trigger unexpected responses from students. The Internet is full of fun content, and adding creative media elements to your course can boost student engagement. However GIF's and other rapid-movement or flickering media- even overly complex still images- have the potential to trigger seizures or other harmful responses in students.
Ally identifies these files, and scores them as low. Follow the instructions to help ensure all students can safely interact with your course content.
See the Remove Potentially Harmful Content help article for more information.