Accessibility ICT Policy Council
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM
Zoom (Please see Outlook Invite for Details)
Members Present: Lisa Andreotta, Melanie Domanico, Bethany Heaton Crawford, Angela King Taylor, Vince Patriarco, Lana Pettit, Miguel Pica, Pamela Thomas, Brian Tibbens, and Scott Warren
Co-chairs: Jenny Gluck and William Myhill
Guests: Michael Morrison
Minutes: Christian Jones
- Welcome/Announcements (Jenny and William)
- Status Check-in and Timeline / Goal Reminder
- Blackboard Ally Demo (Michael Morrison)
Measuring success and holding people accountable; we have a tool that can assist with this piece called Blackboard Ally.
It is automatically turned on for all courses and organizations and you can use it as you normally would in a course/organization. Ally provides a report in the background to help the instructor look at accessibility problems with a file that was uploaded. It uses optical character recognition (OCR) to better identify text elements in PDF files. We can now not only look at a course and its collective materials, but also the system as a whole and sort by common issues/problems, then drill into courses that report large numbers of errors.
You can sort errors by severe, major, and minor status, and view content that is easiest to fix vs problems causing the most damage to the document’s accessibility score.
Brian Tibbens noted that it would be helpful to make these reports available at the unit level so that directors within a unit can pull up a report and audit. It has been a challenge to hold our faculty to the same guidance line for accessibility, and in many cases, ownership is directed back on unit IT directors.
Blackboard doesn’t necessarily understand school/college/unit differentiation, but it does understand course prefixes so we would need to sort manually by the class, but this would help schools and colleges understand which classes are doing well versus which ones need more work in using accessible content. OLS can assist with this.
Putting Alt tags on a document is something everyone should be able to do.
One thing we’ve been discussing is a monthly report that we could send to each unit so you can see where you are and the delta of improvements over time as you work with faculty.
Does this sound tangible? We’d like to use this to strategize on priority, and also to measure and hold folks accountable. It may be necessary to escalate an issue to a school/college’s dean if no effort is made to remediate content.
William asked about what tools are built into Ally to help remediate content.
2 things that may prove helpful:
(1) The “What does this mean?” and “How to Fix” options when an issue is detected
(2) The ability to upload an updated file right there in the remediation menu, which will replace the inaccessible document.
It uses machine learning/AI so it doesn’t replace human activity, but it’s helpful.
If a faculty member doesn’t remediate a document, students won't’ see the accessibility “speedometer” sign but they will have an arrow indicating download options arrow for downloading alternative formats of a file (automatically tagged PDFs, electronic Braille versions, audio files, etc.). It also features ability to use foreign languages, so the documents don't have to be in English and the audio files are created automatically for these in the language that they were created.
Language translation is not currently available due to challenges preventing use of this feature for, say, a foreign language class, but in the future, you will be able to turn on/off foreign language translation for a course.
It is only running accessibility reports on content you upload into Blackboard, it will not be able to evaluate external sources you may link in your course/organization.
- Proposed Structure
- Course content (student work, for ex.)
- Research materials
- The Public
- Recruiting materials
- Admissions materials
- Athletics materials
- Past events (graduation, for ex.) and supporting digital materials
- University records, shared stats
- Board of Trustees
- Working teams, committees, councils (collaborations)
- Recent use of the content vs intentions to use it again
- If using as a reference document, make sure it's accessible.
- Individual vs team/group use
- Human Resources
- Forms, documents, policies
- University Business Content
- Content that may be required by University personnel - protected or not
To some degree, we want to define who is responsible for managing what content.
Whoever is the owner/creator of content is the responsible person for accessibility and remediation. They may lean on the IT director of their school/college/department or OLS for support but the onus is on the content owner to ensure its accessibility compliance.
William added that that principle applies to public-facing and employee-facing content. If we have a department using it for a given purpose, that’s where the buck stops.
Folks need to have the tools/support to execute this.
The reality is that there just aren’t enough human resources to help with this lift so owners will need to find a way to make sure their content is accessible.
A lot of faculty are of the mindset that it’s not their job to do this. This is where pulling the reports and doing an audit will help hold people accountable.
Ally seems like an excellent resource. It identifies a lot of issues without fixing them that require a manual fix. Pam also has some great tutorials on using these common tools and fixing some of these issues. Please reference the Accessible Technology Toolkit.
It also doesn’t have to be an academic course to use Blackboard; Bb organizations are used for a variety of purposes across campus.
Maybe instead of listing audiences and roles together we list the audiences then define the roles separately (employees, faculty, departments, students, alumni etc.)
Rules of Thumb:
"Anything that is active and inaccessible needs to be remediated; anything that is archived and inactive can be left alone."
If it’s archived, leave it alone/get an exception, but if it’s active/public, we need to make sure it’s accessible. There will then need to be priority for active content.
Owners of inaccessible active content should also offer an option for remediation on demand and will be expected to make content accessible if requested.
Types of content and remediation guidance:
Active and inaccessible
If it’s active and not accessible, you need an exception and a plan to remediate it.
Priority must be given to remediating active and inaccessible content.
Inactive/archived/firewalled and inaccessible
Wouldn’t need an exception and can stay in the state it’s in.
Does need an on-demand protocol.
Licensed content (third party platforms) and inaccessible
Largely Library content.
There should be a process / organization structure in place to ensure that remediated content will not have to be re-remediate.
Scott Warren will look further into what reconfiguration of content means for the Library, both contractually for the Library and in dealing with inaccessible content.
Holding vendors accountable is also important (going back to ownership of content). At the next meeting we can continue discussing how we can make it easier for the campus to accomplish this goal.
Ownership of content
Principles and how to help the campus accomplish goals
Meetings have been extended through Jan 2022.
Recommendations 7a, 11 and 13
Please review and be ready to discuss.
Language conversation will be held at a future meeting when Paula and Miguel can be present.
Ongoing Issues to Address
- Glossary of Terms
- End of Exception Cycle
- The exception is only good for the term of the version. How long is the life of the exception? What triggers a review of the product?
Review of DERC Phase 2 Recommendations Communications with Council (available in the Restricted Resource Library to AICTPC members)