Five Easy Ways To Make Your Classes Accessible

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Five Easy Ways To Make Your Classes Accessible

Today’s NCCFA 2013 presentation on helping to make your blackboard classes accessible was a nice setup.

Accessibility refers to creating information, services, and environments that can be used by people with disabilities, including those with visual, hearing, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. There are many options when designing your blackboard course to apply the principles of universal design that will benefit all students.

Assistive technologies include a fairly diverse range of devices that can be used by students with disabilities. Creating an accessible Blackboard class carries with it the importance of material formats, such as audio, video, images, and documents, when posted. The principles of universal design can help guide your Blackboard site creation. These principles suggest conveying information in as many ways as possible in order to accommodate a full range of users.

  1. Include descriptive text for all non-textual elements. This text, also known as alt text, allows screen readers to provide students with visual impairments with a description of the visual features. Blackboard’s visual text box editor can be used to add these descriptions.
  2. Use descriptive names for files you upload so that screen readers can easily identify them.
  3. Maintain a high level of contrast between your text and the background color it appears on when designing the left navigation menu in your course site and when creating ANY content.
  4. Use san serif fonts (e.g., Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana) in your Blackboard class. Use a dark color font that is easy to read on a white background. Avoid using colored fonts to enhance meaning, especially if that is the ONLY method for enhancing meaning. Keep the format simple and avoid patterns in the background. Consider using BOLD with RED type if it is necessary to grab attention
  5. Be aware of Special Needs. If you use Blackboard to give timed exams, consider adjusting the auto-submit to a points-reduced-by-time system, since it is not possible to change test settings for one individual while others are taking the exam.
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