Accessibility on the Web and in Blackboard - webinars and resources

Many believe placing content in Blackboard, which is an accessible program, makes the content accessible. This is not the case.
Did you know?

The Sloan Consortium is sponsoring a series of free webinars focusing on accessibility, including federal regulations, available resources, invisible disabilities, and effective practices for student and faculty success. Each webinar brings together a panel of administrative leaders, faculty, and students with accessibility expertise from across the United States who will provide individual and collective perspectives to working with students and faculty with disabilities in online education.

The first webinar Understanding the Law & Building Accessible Institutional Infrastructures focused on identifying critical issues that all higher education institutions should be addressing.  Panel members shared effective practices and available resources for creating accessible institutional infrastructures that support student and faculty success. The key findings, resources and a recording of the webinar can be found here:

Sloan Accessibility Webinars

Following are the remaining three webinars from the Sloan Consortium offered in this series. Please click on the webinar title for more information and to register.

Disability Resources at UST

St. Thomas' Disability Resources web page contains a wealth of information for both students and faculty on available services and technologies as well as contact information for staff in the Disability Resources office who can answer your questions. Professors with a student who intends to use accommodations when taking an exam or a visually impaired student completing the IDEA form at the end of the semester should contact Disability Resources office (MHC 110) in advance of the exam or evaluation. 

  • It is a student's responsibility to disclose their membership in the Disability Resources Program to their professors if they wish to request accommodations for their courses.  Accommodations cannot be provided unless students discloses to both their professors and the Disability Resources staff.  Students do not have to disclose their specific disability to their professors.  
  • The Disability Resources office does not automatically notify professors that students have a disability just because a student has submitted documentation.
  • Students are responsible for requesting that professors receive notification of their disability and options for accommodations.

Disabilities Syllabus Statement
The purpose of a disability statement in syllabi is to help students feel more comfortable in approaching their professors about their disability and to facilitate arranging accommodations in a timely manner.  It is recommended that you reinforce this statement with a verbal reminder at the beginning of the semester. Download the disabilities syllabus statement

UST ADA Compliance Officers
The ADA Compliance Officers coordinate university programs and responsibilities to assure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to persons with disabilities. Representing the academic and administrative interests of the university, the officers are responsible for coordinating university policies and procedures relating to persons with disabilities, tracking university progress relating to its policies and procedures as well as state and federal laws relating to persons with disabilities, filing all necessary reports, and providing consultative services to employing units and offices.

Dr. Michael Jordan serves as an ADA Compliance Officer for St. Thomas. Dr. Jordan coordinates academic-related compliance issues and may be contacted at 2-5612 or

Blackboard and Accessibility

This PDF document developed by Blackboard identifies some of the challenges students face and how faculty can use specific Blackboard tools and univeral design techniques to help all learners master your course objectives.

What's it like to be a blind student using a JAWS screen reader to interact with and complete various tasks in Blackboard Learn? Check out one of the JAWS demos created by Blackboard:

 - Student Submitting an Assignment
 - Student Taking a Test
 - Student Viewing Grades

The videos below are recorded sessions in which a blind instructor is using a JAWS screen reader to create content and create and grade assignments in Blackboard.

 - Instructor Adding Course Content
 - Instructor Creating Assignment
 - Instructor Grading Assignment

Blackboard's tutorial for screen reader users showing how to navigate Blackboard: For more information about Blackboard and how to develop a course for universal design and accessibility visit Blackboard's UDA course.

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