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

Dan Comden danc at uw.edu
Thu Jul 26 10:49:36 PDT 2012

Thanks Wink, we have a Canvas system set up here. I'm in as both a student
and an instructor. We're also using it to launch books for our Etext pilot
project so it's all kind of awkward. I am a bit amazed that nobody else has
flagged the accessibility problems!

On Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 9:25 PM, Wink Harner <wink.harner at mesacc.edu> wrote:

> Thanks Dan. Let me know if I can create a special section for you to login

> to Canvas.

> On Jul 25, 2012 5:12 PM, "Dan Comden" <danc at uw.edu> wrote:


>> 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




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-*- 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
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