[Athen] LMS accessibility

Hadi Rangin hadi at illinois.edu
Mon Dec 7 12:48:19 PST 2009


Ken Petri and I and many colleagues across multiple institutions have been
working with two major LMS vendor namely D2L and Blackboard. Our main goal
from working with them is to improve the accessibility/usability of their
products. Of course, we test and evaluate constantly but we don't publish
our findings because first we are under NDA and secondly, we primeraly work
on future products and not existing products. We have realized working on
existing products is not very effective considering the limited resources we
have. By time the vendors address the accessibility issues with existing
products in the market, institutions upgrade to new releases/versions and
all those work would be waisted. So we decided to work on upcoming releases
instead and try to incorporate accessibility part of their future design.

Last time we wrote a whitepaper on Blackboard was in 2005 and it is not
relevant anymore because BB has changed drastically since then.

The most recent evaluation has been done by our colleagues at CSU. They have
systematically evaluated 5 LMS. If I am not mistaking it is from early 2008.
You can find the report at:

Note that both BB and D2L have invested a lot into accessibility of their
product since 2008 and the result of the evaluation is not relevant anymore.

Here's my suggestion:
1. Bring together a few accessibility experts,
2. define and develop your accessibility criteria and matrix, and
3. perform the accessibility testing locally on the version your institution
is considering to upgrade.

This is the only way that you can get a fair and up-to-date accessibility

I can help you with #2 and I am positive other members on this list like Ken
Petri and Terry Thompson will be glad to help you too.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Burke, Dan (DSS)" <burke at mso.umt.edu>
To: "Access Technology Higher Education Network" <athen at athenpro.org>
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 1:08 PM
Subject: [Athen] LMS accessibility

> The director of online learning asked me if there are any third-party

> assessments of various learning management systems, such as Blackboard,

> etc. Any info in this direction would be helpful -- they're looking

> ahead to acquiring a new or upgraded LMS at Montana.


> Dan



> Daniel J. Burke

> Assistant Director/Coordinator

> Disability Services for Students

> Emma B. Lommasson 154

> The University of Montana

> Missoula, MT 59812


> www.umt.edu/dss/


> 406.243.2243 voice/text

> 406.243.4424 direct line

> 406.243.5330 fax




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> Athen mailing list

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