Davenport University

Accessible student support and e-learning.

Project Summary.

Serving almost 7,300 students through 12 different Michigan campus locations in addition to online courses, Davenport University relies on its learning management system (LMS), Blackboard, to disperse content and coursework between faculty and students. Proactively working toward a more inclusive LMS experience for students and staff with disabilities, Davenport University partnered with The C2 Group to complete an accessibility audit for Blackboard. C2 provided a detailed evaluation specifying how well Davenport’s LMS instance supports the needs of users with visual, hearing, motor, and cognitive impairments. Additionally, the audit provided resolution strategies for accessibility issues that were uncovered. As a result, Davenport was able to provide Blackboard support with software and coding issues to enhance accessibility of the LMS for students and faculty alike.

The Challenge.

With more than 1,000 new lawsuits expected to be filed against colleges and universities for web accessibility violations in 2018, the pressure is on to meet the needs of the 1 in 5 users with disabilities that impede how they browse web content and web-based applications. To mitigate risk of litigation, Davenport engaged with C2 on an accessibility audit of the Blackboard LMS, which facilitates nearly 1,500 course offerings for the 72% of Davenport students who take at least one online class each semester. Based on these figures, more than 1,050 Davenport students could be affected by an inaccessible LMS and associated LMS content.

The Solution.

C2’s analysis paired human investigation with automated software tools, such as SortSite Scan and JAWS’ screen-reading software, checked 10,000+ pages and images and found 7,000+ accessibility issues. The audit evaluated core Blackboard pages, widgets, and content against WCAG 2.0 Level-AA standards, which covers and expands on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 508 requirements. Issues pertaining to content and ordering, browser and keyboard testing, and text-to-speech outputs were then identified and categorized as either code- or content-related, helping to route fixes to either Blackboard support or Davenport staff, respectively. Detailed explanations of these issues were provided along with recommendations for remediation, equipping Davenport content creators with better practices and safeguards for ensuring accessible web content moving forward.


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