Accessibility in Blackboard

Blackboard is fully committed to delivering product experiences that conform to the highest levels of global accessibility standards. Towson University’s Blackboard Support Team knows that accessibility is imperative, not an afterthought.

All Blackboard products are designed and developed with the internally recognized Web Content Accessibility (WCAG) Guidelines 2.0 Level AA as well as the Section 508 standards in the United States. Blackboard is becoming more accessible, and TU's Blackboard environment has 3rd party integrations that some professors utilize. Learn more about the 3rd party vendor accessibility information (PDF) and about the importance of accessibility in education. If you have questions, please contact TU Blackboard Support

Blackboard Accessibility Tool - Available Fall 2019

Blackboard Ally is an accessibility checker integrated within Blackboard. When an instructor uploads documents or files to Blackboard, Blackboard Ally will gauge the accessibility of the documents. In addition, the tool will provide feedback on how to improve the accessibility of the document or file. Blackboard Ally will also provide alternative formats of content to students. 

Please Note: At this time, Blackboard Ally will only check the accessibility of documents that have been uploaded to Blackboard. Excel documents and text entered into the textboxes will not be checked or have an indicator.

Contact the Blackboard Team to have the tool turned on in your Blackboard Course. In January 2020, all courses will have Bb Ally turned on. 

Resources for Instructors

Watch this Webinar on Blackboard accessibility

View this checklist for course accessibility

Turn on Blackboard Accessibility Tool (Bb Ally)

Understanding the Bb Accessibility Tool Indicators (Bb Ally)

Tips for Making Your Course Accessible:

  • Write plainly by keeping your sentences short and using simple words. Learn how to write accessible content.
  • Use descriptive headings and apply heading formatting.
  • Avoid using font styles, color, bold, italics, underline or strikethrough to emphasize content.
  • Use purposeful images and include alternative text to those images.
  • Make descriptive links when linking outside your course.
  • Use lists instead of tables whenever possible.
  • Properly list content using bullet points or numbered lists.
  • All videos should be captioned.
  • Format your files and documents to be accessible. Register for the OTS Training workshop: “Creating Accessible PDF Documents.”
  • Provide students with clear expectations, instructions and directions for all assignments and tests.

Resources for Students

View useful keyboard shortcuts in Blackboard

Alternative Formats (Bb Ally)