All the regular rules for accessibility apply to materials used in Blackboard courses.
For Screen Reader Users
On the UNC Blackboard login page, the cursor is automatically placed in the Username field but does not turn FORMS MODE ON. In order to activate FORMS MODE ON, hit SHIFT -TAB twice to back out of Username field, and then TAB until you get back to the Username field. This will turn FORMS MODE ON. After you enter your username, you can TAB to the Password text field. After you have entered your password, either TAB to the Login button or just hit ENTER.
Use CTL and UP and DOWN arrows to skip over unwanted information in message rows. The Blackboard corporation provides a good discussion board overview for screen reader users.
Applets and Plug-Ins
You can configure Windows to open Word and Powerpoint documents in a separate window if you prefer. Go to Control Panel/Folder Options/File Types/Registered File Types/Select File Type/Advanced button (Edit File Type). Enable "Browser in same window", select "OK", then close.
JAWS requires an additional utility to parse the Java accessibility API, which is necessary to use the virtual chat tool. Obviously, Java must be enabled in the browser as well.
The Java access bridge can be downloaded from Sun's Website.
When using any form in a Blackboard discussion forum, quiz, email, drop box, etc. , you must toggle between FORMS MODE ON and FORMS MODE OFF. Use the + Key on your keyboard's number pad to turn FORMS MODE off. If you are not using a keyboard with a number pad, use ALT-; instead.
The combo-boxes allow user to toggle between values. Use ENTER ALT DOWN ARROW, use ARROW keys to move up and down, then INSERT TAB to read the value you're on.
For Course Builders
Applets, Plug-ins, and Attachments
When uploading files that require plug-ins use the Description field to add a link to download the plug-in. In general, any file type other than HTML or images will require a plug-in. Please note that although the browser may show these file types seamlessly (without appearing to need a plug-in), the same files may not be visible on user's computers, this will depend on the software they have installed. This is true of common file formats, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF.
When linking to attachments, include the file type as part of the link name. For example, Blackboard and JAWS (Microsoft Word).
Avoid using embedded files. Navigating out of embedded applications in Blackboard is difficult. When possible, have documents launch in native applications, or in new windows. Be sure to clearly state what the result of clicking on a link will be if it changes user focus.
Images and Multimedia
Include a text equivalent for items such as graphic images when adding them to a Blackboard site. Supply alternative text in the Multimedia Options settings when displaying an image. Supply a description on the Description field when using more complex media.
Assessments and Forms
Alternatives must be provided for drag-and-drop questions used in assessments.
When creating forms, make sure that form elements make sense when read from left to right across the page. It is also important to associate labels with form elements, such as placing the text labels next to text input boxes. Make sure that a form can be filled out and submitted when using only the keyboard, rather than relying on the mouse. For more information on accessible forms, see "Guidelines: Forms."
Provide a text-only page with the equivalent information or functions if there is no other way to present the original information in an accessible way. Whenever possible, it is better to make the original content accessible instead of supplementing it with a text-only alternative.