Aston University Blackboard Learn Accessibility Statement

Aston University is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Blackboard Learn is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.

Blackboard Learn (referred to colloquially as Blackboard) is the centrally supported Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Aston University. Blackboard is a third party product, designed and developed to conform with the internationally recognized Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA as well as the US Section 508 standards. Certain issues may arise which can cause difficulties with accessibility. As these are identified, these will be described in updates to this statement as appropriate.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. Within the Blackboard interface you will be able to:

  • change colours, contrast levels and fonts
  • zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen except where content has been created by a user in such a way to not make this possible (for example within a non-responsive table)
  • navigate the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader

Please note, because additional content can be uploaded to Blackboard the above may only apply to the user interface of Blackboard itself rather than content that has been uploaded to it or 3rd party content displayed via Blackboard.

General tips

Using accessibility features in your web browser

You can adjust your browser to easily change the display of the current page.

General advice
Better Web Browsing: Tips for Customizing Your Computer from W3C
Accessibility features in Firefox – Make Firefox and web content work for all users
Use Chrome with accessibility extensions
Accessibility on the Mac – includes Safari
Ease of Access in Microsoft Edge

Using accessibility features in your device’s operating system

You can configure your computer, laptop, or mobile device so that you can magnify details, have the computer readout interface elements aloud, change the colour scheme,  and many other aspects.

General advice
My Computer – My Way (from AbilityNet)
Mac Accessibility Support
iOS (iPhone / iPad)
Get started with accessibility features on iPhone
Get started with accessibility features on iPad
Windows accessibility: Find out how Windows accessibility features help you do more
Turn on Chromebook accessibility features
Android accessibility overview

Using and navigating Blackboard

Guides are available on the following topics:

How accessible this website is

Blackboard Inc. has provided a Voluntary Product Accessibility Report which includes an overview of its WCAG 2.0 report. As of 5th September 2018, it was found to conform to most WCAG 2.0 AA expectations with some exceptions.

You may find that you are directed to access external sites outside of Blackboard, these might be hosted or supported by the University, or maybe third party services or websites. This statement refers to core Blackboard functionality and content uploaded directly to Blackboard rather than third-party content or services accessed through Blackboard. Please note that some services will appear to be part of Blackboard when they are in fact hosted/managed/provided by a third-party such as Panopto, Turnitin or Talis.

What to do if you cannot access parts of Blackboard?

All students are provided with a range of personalised support, details of which are made available separately. Blackboard content can be reconfigured in alternative formats using Blackboard Ally. You can find out more here: Blackboard Ally Alternative Formats guidance.

Where content uploaded to Blackboard is not accessible, it can be uploaded to SensusAccess to be converted into alternative formats, including MP3 files, e-books and digital Braille. If an appropriate alternative format cannot be found or the content is still not accessible, users should contact the Enabling Team using the details below:

If these do not meet your requirements or if you require additional support navigating Blackboard please get in touch with the Enabling Team who are available to support you and work with colleagues to ensure your needs are met.

Which parts of the service do not meet accessibility standards and why?

The University is currently working to support content creators and providing guidance and training on the creation of accessible resources. The content you will find on Blackboard has been uploaded by our user community made up of hundreds of University staff to more than 2000 modules taught each academic year. As such the accessibility of content may vary between modules and content creators.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Blackboard’s Voluntary Product Accessibility Report includes information regarding where the product does not meet the full WCAG 2.0 expectations.

All content uploaded by our user community may have accessibility issues.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

All content uploaded by the user community may not comply with WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria. Key areas of non-compliance may include:

With respect to areas that may not currently comply with accessibility regulations, Aston is investing considerable time and resources to support the development of practice and to ensure all users are provided with additional functionality to improve accessibility. This includes the provision of student and staff facing tools including Blackboard Ally, guidance information, and staff development for all system users. Accessibility and compliance with regulations will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

Disproportionate burden

Panopto/Aston Replay lecture capture content is currently not captioned. This does not meet WCAG 2.1A 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded). We’ve assessed captioning solutions:

  • current auto-captioning solutions are not considered to be sufficiently accurate to provide a suitable alternative version of time-based media.
  • Aston is not able to offer manually captioned recorded content as standard, but we will monitor this and may be able to integrate captioning solutions in the future.

Content that is not currently within the scope of the accessibility regulations

Any content found in Blackboard course areas published prior to September 22nd 2018 is currently outside of the scope of these regulations, but we will review how far we can make this content accessible by September 23rd 2020.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We are always looking to improve accessibility. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we are not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact the Technology Enhanced Learning Team:

Recourse in the event of an unsatisfactory response to the notification of accessibility problems or requests for accessible versions

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the accessibility regulations. If you are not happy with how we respond to your notification or request, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Finally, you may find the following guides useful in supporting your learning:

Blackboard Ally for Accessibility

Blackboard Ally has been successfully integrated with Blackboard Learn and is predominantly focused on making digital course content more accessible.

Aston University has implemented a range of assistive technology products to meet the needs of a broad range of users. Users may have very individual needs and we try to accommodate these. Some individual needs can be addressed by what we already have in place. In other circumstances we may need to work with individuals and other colleagues in the University in order to devise appropriate access solutions. Further information on DSA is available from the Enabling Team.