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: 2006-04-17

Time: 1:30 PM


Hello Everyone,

Finally, we are at the stage that we can actively test the latest version of WebCT that is being currently developed.
The WebCT demo server is up and running and I was able to look into it. It is the time for us to test it and provide Robert and his team with our feedback about the status of the accessibility features we all would like to see. Your participation is very important at this stage and I would like to discuss in our next teleconference about the testing protocol and find out who else can help us with testing. Some of you might not have enough time to do the testing actively but you might have students or instructors who could help us to do the testing. so please plan the next teleconference in your busy schedule and let us utilize the opportunity that we have at this time to contribute into accessibility of next WebCt release.

I would like also to discuss another subject that we discussed in the past but we did not pursue with it. Several months ago we discussed the idea of compiling tips, tricks, and work-around for WebCT which could ease user interaction and improve the accessibility of the course materials.
These tips can be categorized based on their nature and organized in a FAQ.
Unfortunately, we got distracted by identifying accessibility issues with WebCt and did not follow on it. I would like to remind you all about it and ask you please to send me or the list any tips, tricks, work-around, and in general, any recommendation that could help our disabled users regardless they are students or instructor. Once I have these info, I can categorize and organize them in a FAQ. More about it in our next teleconference.

Info about the next teleconference:

Date: Monday April 17 2006
Time: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM CDT (Chicago Local Time)
Phone: 217 265-9888

Suggested topics:

1. Accessibility tester group
2. Accessibility testing protocol 
3. Accessibility tips for students and instructors

Please send me any other topics you would like to discuss at the next teleconference.

Thank you.


Hello everyone
Please feel free to edit or add, not the worlds best notetaker

Notes for conference call, Monday April 17th
Erin ODriscoll, Excelsior College
Kimerly J Wilcox, University of Minnesota
Hadi Bargi Rangin, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
Philip Kragnes, University of Minnesota
Robert Dumas, WebCT
Saroj Primlani, North Carolina State University
Konstantinos Nikos Yfantis, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

Hadi mentioned that the demo server was now available for testing.  He has
done some testing and has sent preliminary report to Robert.  He thanked
Robert and said the new version was showing great progress.  The URL
username/password information for the demo server:
Username: tester
Password: access
The demo server allows multiple concurrent users

The following people have agreed to perform some testing
1)      Erin ODriscoll
2)      Kimerly J Wilcox & Philip Kragnes
3)      Hadi Bargi Rangin & Konstantinos Nikos Yfantis
4)      Saroj but her student helper is not available till late May.

They would like the testing to be complete to give WebCT sufficient time to
make the release date of July 11?? at the conference.
There was some discussion of including testing for mobility limitations
using voice recognition and talking to someone from GA American Institute
for the Blind?? and others who may have access to more testers.  However,
that was considered not practical as they may not be in education
Hadi asked Robert talking about new features
Robert -
1)      Improved header tags- on going process as they are constantly
scanning and updating
2)      Improvement around error messaging- was haphazard (sometimes on top
page, sometimes inline sometimes somewhere else).  All errors are being
gathered on top of page and linked to the place in the page that needs
3)      Java scripts device independent
4)      Manual initiate radio buttons??
5)      Descriptive titles for frame (parent frames explains children)
6)      List mark-up for main course menus
7)      Eliminate most popups and added information when popup did appear
8)      Accessibility statement with list of features and tips on main WebCt
home page
9)      Form controls, labeling should be standard coding practice
10)     Currently there is nothing about our collaboration on their site.
They would like to update the information on accessibility, and has talked
about it with marketing, on how it should be placed on the WebC site.  How
they should be linked to the collaboration site  (Saroj wanted assurance
that it would promoted only as a used as a marketing tool)
11)     Click item menu item, they have tried to improve focus which
currently was staying in menu frame rather then moving focus to content
area.   Mozzilla and Opera does it, but IE is very confusion.  Headers in
the content frame should be a good compromise for screen readers.

Hadi asked about issues report, have developer looked it? He also asked
Robert if all other issues had been resolved.

Robert responded that they had fixed most but where still investigating the
issue with "logon causing a strange popup checker".  Issue appears to be
related with XP service 2.  It installs with popup blocker turned on by

Hadi mentioned he had the popup blocker turned off.  In addition the content
in the popup window was very small and could not read by his sighted

There was discussion on the developing a document defining how the testing
should be done to have a consistency in the test reports.  The objective is
to have everyone to test every modules, using a series of tools or have some
testing with some tools.  Suggestion use different combination/- List of
tools and modules giving a testing protocols, including both student and
instructor views.  Create a testing rubric with a 3 by X grid for each
module so that no opportunity is missed  with the goal to test for all
Hadi suggested we look at the CITA HTML test document they use which can be
found on their web site under Accessibility Best Practices
Hadi and Phillip can give feed back using a screen reader; testing disabling
style sheet; applying high contrast etc. Approved browser, I include
browser, OS and across the board.
Need real data on demo server for testing.  Robert said he could upload some
dummy demo stuff.  Kosta -and Hadi agreed that they would upload real
material on the demo server.
Most important modules in WebCT that needed testing were quizzes, chat
tools, calendar, media library, learning modules, my grades, course content,
grade book etc.

There was some discussion on uploading content, ppt , html
Other topics
1)      Tips and tricks, please share with list.
2)      Testing deadline - suggestion Hadi and Robert pick a deadline
3)      Robert looking for schedule for testing phase will get back
4)      Next meeting wait till we hear from Robert
5)      WebCt conference - registration material July 10-14, Hadi will not
be there as he will be Austria.
6)      Jon will be presenting with others on the panel??

Note from Hadi
Good news: Frances Middleton from UALR wrote to me that he has 6 people
(students and faculty) for testing. It is great because we will have the
opportunity to have a diverse group of testers on board.


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