Cobra Learning - Meeting web content accessibility standards

The Cobra Learning - Organizing your course accessibly  and Cobra Learning - Setting release conditions and special access to support students with different needs topics provide guidance on organizing your course and setting release criteria to better support students with disabilities. This topic discusses design decisions you should consider when creating HTML content. Most of the tips provided are web content standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium. For more information, review their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Compliance to accessibility standards in HTML-authored content

An accessibility checker is now available within the HTML Editor for use within Content, Widgets, Quizzes, Assignments, Calendar, Assignments, and any other tools where you can access the HTML Editor.

The accessibility checker is available on the HTML Editor bar. After you add content to the HTML Editor, you can click the checker to ensure that the HTML page meets conformance to WCAG and Section 508 accessibility standards.

The accessibility checker reviews content for the use of the following items:

  • Use of paragraphs as headings
  • Sequential headings
  • Adjacent links
  • Ordered list structure
  • Unordered list structure
  • Contrast ratio of text to background colors
  • Image ALT text
  • ALT text file name
  • Table caption
  • Complex table summary
  • Table caption and summary
  • Table heading scope, markup, and headers

The checker indicates if the content is free of accessibility issues, or offers suggestions to fix them.


Note:  that the accessibility checker does not check multiple files at the same time and does not check files that you have imported into a course. Also be aware that the accessibility checker is only available for HTML files in the HTML Editor tool; it cannot be used to check any other file type, such as MS Word, PDF, PowerPoint, and so on.

Improve the accessibility of course content using Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally is a content accessibility service licensed directly from Blackboard. It is designed to help instructors improve the accessibility of their course content. Blackboard Ally provides accessibility checks for Course and Lesson content, provides suggestions for improving content, and provides alternative accessible formats to enable learners to use the format that best meets their requirements.

Blackboard Ally provides an accessibility score from low to high using a color and gauge icon to indicate the current score of the file:

  • Accessibility score is red: improvement required Red indicates a low score resulting from many accessibility issues. Files with this rating should be improved as soon as possible.
  • Accessibility score yellow: medium Yellow indicates a mid-range score. There are accessibility issues, but there are opportunities for improvement.
  • Accessibility score green Light green indicates a high score. The file is accessible, but there are still opportunities for improvement.
  • Accessibility score dark green: perfect Dark green indicates a perfect score. The file is fully accessible, there are no suggestions to improve the accessibility of the file.

The main accessibility score panel also contains a link that opens the Instructor Feedback panel. The Instructor Feedback panel contains the following information:

  • Accessibility score percentage for the entire file with the corresponding color and gauge icon.
  • A link to a list of all issues in the file, with a Fix button that you can use to fix, save, and upload the file with the improved accessibility score.
  • A description of the issue and how to fix it.
  • An upload window that you can use to drag-and-drop a new version of the file, or browse to the updated file.



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