WebCT Accessibility Interest Group

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

All Teleconferences

Teleconference Information

Date: 2005-09-26

Time: 1:30 PM


Here's the suggested topics for our today's teleconference:

1. Introduction of new members
2. Demonstrating accessibility problem video clips
3. Status of WebCT changes and demo server features
4. Beta testing program
5. Changes in WebCT documentation
6. Meeting with WebCT developers at Educause on October 20th and 21st
7. The group is getting bigger, how can we work together to make WebCT more 
8. Regular meeting time


Hadi Bargi Rangin, Chair
Jon Gunderson
Jean Davidson
Philip Kragnes
Erin O'Driscoll
Kevin Price
Annette Cerreta
Stephanie Rosso
Kim Wilcox
David Shwarte
Adrian Wehmeyer
Lugean Babe
Saroj Primlani
Anil Lewis

Robert Dumas

HR: Welcome to the group

1. Introduction of new members

JD: Board of Regents from the State of Georgia, developing
student tutorials to introduce to students to webCT.  Using WebCT 

Vista 3.0, the people don't necessarily using WebCT in their
classes, but this is a way to deliver accessible materials

PK: Adaptive technology accessibility specialist at U
Minnesota, training in students and staff with disabilities on 

assistive technology, WebCT Visita 3.0

ED: Excelier university, WebCT Vista 3.0, we only offer
courses on-line, manage WebCT server and help with insturctional 


KP: Southeast DBTAC, we provide training to the SW region of
the US.  I do alot of training and want to know more about the 

accessibility isssues of WebCT. Not using WebCT.

AC: Greatlakes DBTAC, so alot of training on accessibility, we
want to learn more about accessibility issues of WebCT, not 

using WebCT

SR: I work with Annette

KW: From university of Minnesota Digital Media center,
training and consulting with faculty, works with Phil Kragnes.  

DS: Assistive technology specialist at Purdue, WebCT Vista
3.1, trains students

AW: North Hampton community college in PA, Learn more about
WebCT accessibility issues, Assistant Director of Distance 


LB: North Hampton community college in PA, Learn more about
WebCT accessibility issues, Director of Distance Learning.  We 

have 3,800 students over 180 sections of courses.  Currently
using Blackboard and investigating alternatives to Blackboard.

HR: Robert Dumas is from WebCT.

SP: from NC State, using WebCT Vista

JG: From the University of Illinois

SP: Lisa might be joining later and leading the vista
accessibility project at NC State 

HR: University of Illinois, working on making campus web
resources more accessible, including WebCT

HR: Anyone want to update the new people on what we have been

PK: WebCT has many accessibility problems, this group is
identifying problems and putting pressure on WebCT to fix the 

problems.  We also want to be a resource to WebCT on
suggesting improves in features and documentation that will

accessibility.  The group started as a white paper and then
progressed to include Robert Dumas from WebCT.  Working through 

Robert Dumas increase WebCTs understanding of the
accessibility problems.

AL: I am a blind user of WebCT and would like input on making
webCT more accessible

2. Demonstrating accessibility problem video clips

HR: UI created a video of the accessibility problems of WebCT
using the Morae software.  Hopefully help WebCT engineers 

understand the accessibility problems.  One problem was
untabable links.  It took several weeks to identify the
problem as a 

problem with FS Jaws.  

DS: FS JAWS has now passed the problem onto Sun.

PK: I solved the crashing problem by installing the latest
version of Java (version 7.0).  

SP: I use TechSmith techologies all the time and it seems to
work fine.

HR: When you run this with WebCT and Jaws it crashed WebCT.

3. Status of WebCT changes and demo server features

HR: WebCT has provided a Beta WebServer for us to test
accessibility fixes.  Robert is in charge of interface design and 

gives the designs to the engineers.  The engineers make
changes to the interface and the markup.

DS: The orginal designs are usually accessible, but the
engineers change the markup and their are problems.

SJ: Here at NCSU all of our programmers use JAWS when they are

PK: It is not part of WebCT operating procedures.

HR: JAWS often coverup accessibility problems, but we are also
concerned with all types of disabilities, not just JAWS users.

SJ: I agree totally.  We need to get them thinking about this
in their QA and testing process.

KW: We have been working on getting a different process in place.

HR: We met with them in the contference in SF, and we
volunteered to do some of the testing for them.  We do not a

approach.  We want them to consider accessibility in the
design stage.

SJ: We do not become the QA department.

HR: Yes, that is correct.

AW: I often found it hard to put in accessibility information
and their were no training resources on how to make WebCT more 


KW: I am not sure what you mean by putting accessibilit
information in.

AW: Uploading course content to WebCT.

PK: It is hard to put accessible information in the content.

SJ: How does the demo server work?  Will they have content there?

HR: I can send you login information, and you can create your
own courses.  Right now there are some courses, but the server 

is going to be updating.

HR: Robert Dumas said the testing server is not stable.  He
does not know wehn it will be stable.

PK: We need to have very specific testing features as new
features are added to the test server.

RD(from e-mail): Design process still underway. Will be some
time before demo server is stable enough for testing.

4. Beta testing program

HR: Some problems have been passed to FS and to Sun.  UI has
become a beta tester for JAWs and I asked them to come to these 

calls.  I was hoping to see some improvement, but have not
been able to test yet.

SJ: It is hard to find the right person.  We need to find the
right people at each company to get the problem.

HR: WebCT and JAWS do understand the problem.  

DS:  It has something to do with how the Java system generates
HTML code.

SJ: Who at sun.

DK: Jenny Blan in our WebCT has logged a trouble ticket to WebCT.

SJ: We need to test with other asssitive technologies?

PK: This particular problem seems specific to JAWs.

HR: I am trying to get someone form FS Jaws to join us.  

5. Changes in WebCT documentation

HR: Changes in WebCT documentation?

PK: We want to include "How to" information in WebCT so that
people can include accessibility features.

DS: Give student a way to have longer exams.

HR: Most faculty do not understand features, so that there is
something in WebCT to help people.

AW: That is a great idea.  If it is a turnkey system like
WebCT, you have to walk around the tools to try to figure out how 

to make it work.  

PK: Office is commonly used, people are not trained on Office.
 This is a problem not only in WebCT, but also a problem with 

other tools like Office.  All these tools work together.

AW: What about templates to improve accessibility.

SJ: We should be offering the wizard with in the tool.  There
question creation tool does not create accessible forms.  They 

should have that a default feature.  

RD (from e-mail): Still too early in design cycle to have
information yet.

6. Meeting with WebCT developers at Educause on October 20th
and 21st

RD(from e-mail): I will not be attending EduCause and I am
currently not sure what developers will be in attendance. I
can get this information and get back to you.

JR: I will send out a message.

7. The group is getting bigger, how can we work together to
make WebCT more accessible.

KW: It might be useful the tool into some general areas and
have some people do some testing.

DS: It is a big program.

PK: Can we come up with some conventions for identifying the
topic of the subject.

8. Regular meeting time

HR: Is this a good time.  

JG: How about the third 

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