Moving to an Accessible Environment

As we are looking toward more courses being delivered online and remotely moving forward, it’s really important that we keep accessibility in mind.

Accessibility helps level the playing field for individuals who have disabilities. In face-to-face classroom settings, this can mean the ability for someone with mobility impairments to enter a classroom. It also extends to content, though. So whether we’re talking about teaching face-to-face courses, remote courses, or fully online courses, we all need to keep accessibility in mind.

Here’s what we’re doing in OC Global to help:

Ally in Blackboard

We have turned on Ally in Blackboard Learn.

Ally in Blackboard
Ally is a tool that helps you identify areas of your course that may not be accessible to all learners.

Ally is a tool that will help you make your courses and your content more accessible to all learners.
Ally will identify areas that need to be addressed with regard to accessibility in your courses by placing a small dial next to the item. This dial resembles a speedometer. If it’s green and pointing to the right, you’re good! But if it is yellow or red, and not pointing to the right, your content needs to be addressed to assist with accessibility.
Students do not see the coloured dials in their view of your course. This is only visible in Instructor View.

So what does it look like if you have an item that may not be accessible to all your students? You will see a dial similar to the image below.

To identify what makes this image not accessible just click on the little dial in your Blackboard course.

This will open the Accessibility Score window, where you will find the score for the item (0-100%), and the reason that Ally found the item not accessible.

Ally Accessibility Score in Blackboard. This window also provides tips to help make content more accessible.
Accessibility Score through Ally in Blackboard. This window also provides tips on how you may correct accessibility issues.

In the image above, we see that the name of the image, Header. Course Materials.jpg is the same as the description that was used for the alt text. If the image that you are using is relevant to the instruction, you need to a very clear description in the alt text field. However some images, like this, are considered Decorative. So how can you fix this image? Either change the description, or indicate that it’s decorative. And you can do that right in the window provided. Just click in the Edit Image Description to enhance the description, or click the button to Indicate the Image is Decorative.

For documents and PDFs, it’s a little more challenging. But if you create documents to share using styles, adding alt text for images, and tables, etc., accessibility will be much easier to maintain.

Want to know more about Ally? Click here for more!

Captioning in TechSmith Knowmia (Formerly TechSmith Relay)

Another way that OC Global is helping to meet the accessibility needs of our learners is through captioning videos. We are working to caption videos that are being created in TechSmith Knowmia (formerly TechSmith Relay). In fact, our Blackboard Support Specialists are working around the clock to caption videos! Okay… But Real Talk! It’s really not that hard to caption those videos.

Here’s how you can start the process. In your TechSmith Media Library, click the video where you would like to initiate captions. In the tool bar below the video screen

  1. Click Accessibility
  2. Select Generate Captions and click Confirm
    Captions may take a few minutes to generate; you will receive an email when the process has finished. Return to your video by clicking the link in the email… OR click Accessibility and select
  3. Edit Captions, and click Confirm
TechSmith Media Library; select video, then Accessibility. Choose Generate Captions from the menu. After captions are generated, click Accessibility, and select Edit Captions

This opens the captioning window:

TechSmith Knowmia Captioning Window

In the image above, you see TechSmith’s Caption Editor. The area at the bottom controls playback and captions. As you can see, in the light grey area, we have black blocks with captions. When the captions reach the play head, they display in the video area of the screen where you can edit them.

The image below is a close up of the TechSmith Realy Caption Control Panel. Labeled button groups are described below.

TechSmith Captioning Control Panel. Paragraph below image has details.

Caption Control Panel

  • A – Add / Remove Captions: These two buttons on the far left allow you to insert (+) or delete (x) captions on the timeline.
  • B – Split Caption: For captions that are longer than 7 seconds, you may need to split the caption into two shorter parts. Move the timeline so that the play head is in the location where you want the split to occur, and click the Split Caption button. Make any needed edits to the captions.
  • C – Delete All Captions: This button removes all captions from the timeline.
  • D – Undo / Redo: For those times when you accidentally remove all captions…
  • E – Player Controls: Play/pause, rewind or fast-forward to move through the video.
  • F – Volume Control: Adjust volume as needed
  • G – ADA Compliance Summary: TechSmith Relay will highlight any caption group that does not adhere to ADA guidelines. If this button displays a gold dot with an exclamation (as in the image above), some captions may not meet ADA guidelines. Click the button to see issues identified.
ADA Compliance Summary Panel. Explanation follows in the paragraph after the image.

In the image above, ADA guidelines are not met because:

  • some captions are present that are not between 3 and 7 seconds,
  • gaps exist between some captions, so captions are not always present on the screen, and
  • some captions exceed the 100 character limit.

To correct the issues, click on one of the issues. TechSmith will advance the timeline to the first caption where the issue occurs. In the image below, I clicked Caption Duration Between 3-7 seconds button.

The duration of the caption identified in gold above is 2.76 seconds, so it is not in compliance. To adjust this, we would need to click the left or right edge of the caption on the timeline, and holding down the mouse button drag to the left or right to extend the duration. Click the play button to determine how the captions can be adjusted best, and edit as needed. When the caption is no longer highlighted in gold, you are ready to move to the next issue. When all issues are addressed and corrected, the gold dot with an exclamation will become a teal dot with a check mark, and the gold exclamations are replaced with teal checks, as in the image below.

Click the publish button in the upper right to save and make the captions available to your learners.

To help us track the number of TechSmith videos that are captioned, please add **CC** to the end of the video title.
(For example, Creating an Accessible Digital World **CC**)
This will ensure that we know the video is captioned, and will allow us to focus on videos that still need to be captioned.

Be sure to check your videos that are being captioned by our Bb Support Specialists! They are great and are doing a wonderful job, but may not always know the terminology you use for your course. If you notice that a word or phrase was captioned incorrectly, just click Accessibility and make needed edits. Be sure to click the Publish button after any edits!

Watch for more sessions from Professional Learning and OC Global on making your courses and content more accessible! We are here to help!