[Athen] RE: Canuvs Vs Blackboard ? for Dan: athen-list Digest, Vol 78, Issue 16

Dan Comden danc at uw.edu
Wed Jul 25 17:07:47 PDT 2012

Hi Bill

Answers below, in-line

On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 3:34 PM, Bill Grubaugh <grubaugh at sfsu.edu> wrote:

> Hi Dan et. al.

> Thanks for the feedback on Canvas. You mentioned That Canvas's Grading

> module has serious accessibility issues; is this faculty facing or, student

> facing?


The grading module I examined is faculty-facing. At the moment I don't have
a complete student view of all Canvas features.


> I ask because, if it is faculty facing then the likely hood of individual

> accommodation may be in place and/or, could be readily implemented for this

> LMS feature/function; while the company tends to the problem.


That is possibly an option, depending on the severity of the problem.
However if we know that we have faculty that are screen reader users, or
keyboard-only users, or speech input users, it is important to point out
accessibility shortcomings in a product before they are purchased or
deployed. If there is no apparent method for users (from either student or
faculty sides) to use an application independently, and we know about it
beforehand, that problem should be addressed straight away, not after a
contract has been signed.


> Does Blackboard also have a comparatively equal problem?


I do not know. I have not used or tested Blackboard in many many years.
Perhaps someone else in ATHEN-land can respond?


> If and when doing comparative assessments of products do you weigh -

> what I'd call public facing interface features over staff facing interface

> accessibility? E.g., If two products are not fully accessible yet one has a

> fairly good student facing interface, yet the faculty facing has issues and

> the other is converse student facing is troublesome the one with the

> faculty issues may be a better choice - depending on the critical needs and

> functional requirements of the Requester. Then again the critical need in

> education is to reach students so I guess that should be factored into the

> product functionality from the get-go.

> What do ya think?


This was not a comparative assessment, it's an examination of our Canvas
pilot implementation with a focus on non-mouse access. I used
keyboard-only, screenreading and speech input methods to interact with the
LMS. I also glanced at default font and color choices.

>From an overall accessibility perspective, I don't think it matters whether

a significant problem is from the student side or the faculty side. Also
don't forget there often is a third side: that of system admin or
superusers that may interact with the system at a different level than
either students or faculty -- that interface and any relevant modules
should be accessible as well.

With our current knowledge of what is needed for application and web
accessibility, I find it hard to justify implementing or deploying a
product that essentially prohibits someone from accomplishing a key
component of their job. In the case of faculty, a key job component is
entering and publishing grade information.

By no means do I intend to single out a single vendor. But I do have to say
I'm frustrated with companies that market their products as "disability
friendly" or "ADA Compliant" when it's obvious that their knowledge of such
matters apparently ends at the time they write those phrases. I don't think
this is the case with Canvas, as some modules appear to be fairly
accessible. It's a comment about other vendors I've observed over the years.

And while I'm on a rant, I'll point out that seeing the specific phrase
"ADA Compliant" in connection to applications or web pages is a pretty good
indicator to me that the vendor does not understand accessibility because
they can't even articulate the standards language properly.

It's implied, but I'll state it openly here: I'm not speaking for my
employer/institution; these are opinions that result from my experience.

I look forward to comments!

-*- Dan Comden danc at uw.edu <danc at washington.edu>
Access Technology Center www.uw.edu/itconnect/accessibility/atl/
University of Washington UW Information Technology
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20120725/822b342d/attachment.html>

More information about the athen-list mailing list