Making Blackboard Content Accessible

Generally, it works best to enter text in the Blackboard content editor and then format it using the content editor formatting buttons.

Heading Styles

Why use heading styles?

When entering text in the Bb content editor, the default style is "Paragraph."  Paragraph style is a defined HTML style that just means "normal" text.  Blackboard has one heading option and two subheading options.  (Guidelines for heading styles)

To Change Text to a Heading

  1. Highlight the text
  2. Select the desired heading from the dropdown menu in the first row that has a default display of "Paragraph"
The heading option is selected from the Paragraph menu and is applied ot the text highlighted in the content editor.

Personalizing Heading Formatting

Once a heading or subheading style has been selected, you can use other formatting tools to change the look of the text.  This will not affect the screen reader's ability to distinguish the heading style and could help visual learners to better distinguish content headings. (Highlight the text before using the formatting buttons.)

The font size of the headings has been increased.


Why use lists?

Just as in other electronic documents, items in a list should be formatted as lists.  In Blackboard, you can enter your text first, then create the list.  Or you can select the list formatting button and begin typing. 

To Create a List from Text Already Entered in the Content Editor

  1. Highlight  all of the text you want become a list.
  2. In the first row of the formatting buttons, click either the Bullet List or the Number List button.
The text that will become a list is highlighted.

To Create a List While Typing Text

  1. Place your cursor in the content editor where you want the list to begin.
  2. Click either the Bullet List or the Number List button and begin typing.
  3. When you are ready to go to the next list item, press the Enter key on your keyboard.
  4. When you are finished with the list, press the Enter key on the keyboard twice OR press the Enter key once and click on the Bullet List or the Number List button.
Text is typed as a list item by first clicking one of the list buttons and then typing the text.

Different Types of Lists

Blackboard allows several predefined list formats.  Click the arrow next to a list button to see the options.

Options for a numbered list include lower alpha, lower Greek, lower Roman, upper alpha, and upper Roman.  Options for a bulleted list include circle, disc, or square.


Why add alt text?

Images used in Blackboard content need alternative text (alt text) in order to be accessible.  Alt text can be added to an image when it is uploaded into the content editor, or it can be added by modifying an existing image.

Add Alt Text During the Image Upload

  1. In the Insert/Edit Image window, type the alt text description in the Image Description box.
  2. Click Insert.
The alt text, textbook - BCOM 6th edition, is added in the Image Description box in the Blackboard Insert/Edit Image window.

To Add Alt Text to an Existing Image in Bb

  1. Edit the item containing the image (chevron menu > Edit).
  2. Right-click on the image, and select "Image" from the menu.
  3. The Insert/Edit Image window will open.  Type the alt text description in the Image Description box.
  4. Click Insert.
The Image option is selected in the right-click menu associated with the image.

Additional Resources

Handout on how insert images in Bb
Video tutorial on how to insert images in Bb


Why is link text important?

Links are a major method of navigating for everyone, but especially screen reader users. If the links are embedded into meaningful text, they are much more useful. 

To Create an Accessible Link in Bb

  1. Type the link text.
  2. Highlight the link text.
  3. Click the Insert/Edit Link button (middle row of formatting buttons)

    The text, TCC Online Bookstore, is highlighted.  The Insert Link button is found on the second row of formatting buttons.

  4. Enter the full URL in the Link Path box.
  5. Change the Target drop-down menu to "Open in New Window (_blank)."
  6. Click Insert.
The URL is entered in the Link Path box.  The Target drop-down menu is changed to Open in New Window.

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