With the rise of electronic and digital technology in recent decades, there has been an important movement to ensure that these technologies are accessible to anyone who uses them within the federal government. Perhaps the best known law that provides such accessibility guidelines is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires that electronic and information technology that is developed or procured by the federal government can be used by individuals with disabilities.

Blackboard is fully committed to ensuring that our e-learning platforms are usable and accessible to all. We strive to meet and exceed federal guidelines for accessibility so anyone – anywhere—can have an ideal learning experience using our solutions. Over the years, we have gained valuable input from our clients to learn what accessible tools and features they need most, and we strive to continually invest in developing accessible products and  capabilities that meet the wide range of our client’s needs.

At Blackboard, we use two sets of standards as benchmarks to measure and evaluate accessibility: the WCAG 2.0 standards issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Section 508. In addition to meeting these standards, Blackboard was the first LMS to achieve gold-level certification from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and was also awarded the NFB’s 2010 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award for “groundbreaking work in accessibility.”

An important thing we have learned in our experience with accessible training is that it is not always enough to have an accessible learning platform, but that learning content itself must also be developed to accommodate for individuals with disabilities.  As a result, we offer tutorials, references, and guidance to clients who want to make their Blackboard learning materials as user-friendly as possible.

Visit our accessibility page to learn more about Blackboard’s specific accessibility features and tools, and consider joining one of our interest groups below to become part of our ongoing conversation on accessible learning and training:

Client Accessibility Interest Group: http://collaborate.athenpro.org/group/bb/

Accessibility Partners Group Email: clientprograms@blackboard.com

Slideshare, “Accessible Blackboard”: http://www.slideshare.net/macneil24/accessible-blackboard-part-1

 

 

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