Millions of computer users in the United States have a disability making it difficult to use the web. Many web pages contain features inhibiting these users from accessing web content. The University of Wisconsin System recently required that all System web pages meet Priority 1 accessibility guidelines as set by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C/WAI). Class materials available in online learning management systems (LMSs) should also be accessible to students and instructors with disabilities. In Spring 2001, four systems, Blackboard 4 and 5, Prometheus 3, and WebCT 3, were assessed against theW3C/WAI guidelines for a numerical statistic of accessibility. Practical accessibility was tested with Lynx, IBM Homepage Reader, and JAWS. Validation was performed with A-Prompt and the W3C/WAI checklist. Blackboard 4 tended to be the most accessible in Spring 2001. Any future LMS should be reviewed with this same procedure to determine when improvements have been made. A new review is underway in Fall 2001. A Section 508 checklist has been added and Blackboard 4 will not be reviewed again.
This project was undertaken by AnnMarie Johnson and Sean Ruppert. Please contact either of us with any questions or comments.
AnnMarie is the Instructional Technology Designer at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University. (920) 424-2210. email@example.com.
Sean Ruppert manages a multimedia computer lab at the University of Wisconsin
Oshkosh. He holds a BS in Education from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
(920) 424-7361. firstname.lastname@example.org
Content authored by AnnMarie Johnson
and Sean Ruppert. ©2001
last updated November 19, 2001 by AnnMarie Johnson.