SCoPE Seminar: Accessibility of eLearning: December 4 - 17, 2006

Accessibility and Course Management Systems

Accessibility and Course Management Systems

by Christie Mason -
Number of replies: 6

I've never had a very positive impression of WebCT's accessibility or usability, but I haven't seen it lately so I Googled and found

http://www.evc.edu/ada/modules/WebCT/index.htm

I wish, wish, wish people would put dates on their articles but I didn't see any within that link so I don't know if the info in the link is current.

Christie Mason

(Speaking of Googling, I couldn't find this site by Googling (SCoPE is a frequently used acronym) and it was only after I Googled for my name and "Scope" that I was able to refind it - odd)

In reply to Christie Mason

Re: getting things started

by Emma Duke-Williams -
That article says WebCT v 3.x on the second page - which is now pretty old. We, too, are upgrading from v4 to the newest version (having had v 4 for about 4 years, so I'd guess 3 is perhaps 8 or 9 years old)

As you probably know, WebCT is now owned by Blackboard; they have a page about Accessibility. References to "CE" or "Vista" refer to the products that used to be WebCT.
In reply to Christie Mason

Re: Accessibility and Course Management Systems

by Sylvia Currie -
Christie's wish was to have this discussion thread moved out of the "getting things started" thread to "challenges". I can't snap part of one discussion thread into another, so I decided to split of the discussion and begin a new discussion on accessibility and course management systems. And I blew it! clown Sorry folks, but a few other messages were left behind so I'll cross reference them this way:

Initial question by Russel Solowoniuk with replies by Susan Alcorn MacKay and Christie Mason

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Accessibility and Course Management Systems

by Christie Mason -
Thank you Sylvia for doing that.

I've often wondered why course/learner management systems often break  standards, compliance has many definitions, and are not accessible.  It seems like the most popular systems tend to have the most problems and I wonder why people buy into them.

Perhaps it's because accessiblity is not a priority with those that are responsible for selecting these systems?  Or, maybe it's because those people don't know how to judge the reality of vendor claims?  What other factors cause people to select systems that have significant problems in these areas?

I've often yearned for some type of review site for these systems where people could share their experiences with different systems that could be used to verify, or dispute, vendor's generic claims of accessibility.

Does anyone know of any sites that offer the opportunity for that type of input?

Christie Mason
In reply to Christie Mason

Re: Accessibility and Course Management Systems

by WL Wong -
Accessibility and usability of vendors' software will be an ongoing issue till vendors get the message that apart from making from making claims about S508 accessibility, etc, their products should be accessible/usable. I have been looking for independent review sites for CMSs and the one that I have come across is the one offered by University of Illinois for WebCT accessibility and the equivalent for Blackboard. There is also one for Moodle.

I hope that through this online seminar that we can also continue to keep an archive of user testing/tips (wiki?) that we have tried at our own institutions so that this can be shared around.

Cheers,
Wai-Leng
In reply to WL Wong

Re: Accessibility and Course Management Systems

by Janna Cameron -
For accessibility claims..

What would you see as an reliable and consistent way to report CMS accessibility?  What proof would you want to see from a vendor?
In reply to Janna Cameron

Re: Accessibility and Course Management Systems

by Sylvia Currie -
Janna asks: "What would you see as an reliable and consistent way to report CMS accessibility?  What proof would you want to see from a vendor?"

Important questions! We're in the process of setting up the Accessibility of eLearning Special Interest Group. It will be available in the new year. This entire forum will be copied to that new space so we'll have easy access to all the gems that emerged through our seminar discussion.