Ulster University is committed to developing websites that are fully inclusive and are actively making every effort to ensure that all pages on the site comply with web accessibility guidelines.
Due to the size and complexity of the University's web presence this is an ongoing process.
If you have any questions or feedback regarding the accessibility of this site, or if you experience any difficulty using it, please contact the web development manager.
Digital Learning at Ulster University
Accessibility Statement and Guidance
1.0 Accessibility Statement
On 23 September 2018, the EU Web Accessibility Directive became UK law. A requirement of the legislation is that each public sector body will have a statement regarding accessibility digital content on their websites and this applies to VLEs.
Ulster University currently has a general accessibility statement at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/accessibility
- New digital learning web content comes under the new law with effect from 24th September 2019. In this respect, static content in the following web-based digital learning systems are affected: Blackboard Learn; Turnitin; Panopto; Qwickly; Office 365.
- In accordance with the new legislation, Ulster University will provide accessibility guidance and digital learning content in formats that comply with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
- Our digital learning accessibility response is based on the sector guidance issued by Jisc: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/accessibility
- Our digital learning accessibility guidance does the following:
- helps users adapt to their needs;
- identifies content that is exempt for reason of ‘disproportionate burden’ of adjustment, falling back to adjustment by request under the University general guidance;
- explains the complexity of adjustment for digital learning systems in which the authors of teaching, learning and assessment content are many and are distributed across the University.
The guidance will be reviewed and updated each semester by the Digital Learning Sub Committee with recommendations being approved through the earning and Teaching Committee and Senate.
Enhance your accessibility by using the accessibility features in your web browser. For example, you can adjust your browser to easily change the display size of the current page.
- General advice: Better Web Browsing: Tips for Customizing Your Computer from W3C
- Chrome: Use Chrome with accessibility extensions
- Edge: Ease of Access in Microsoft Edge
- Firefox: Accessibility features in Firefox – Make Firefox and web content work for all users
- Safari: Accessibility on the Mac – includes Safari
Your device’s operating system
Configure your computer, laptop, or mobile device so that you can magnify details, have the computer readout interface elements aloud, change the colour scheme, and many other aspects.
- General advice: My Computer – My Way (from AbilityNet)
- MacOS: Mac Accessibility Support
- iOS (iPhone / iPad): iPhone and iPad Accessibility Support
- Windows: Windows accessibility
- ChromeOS: Turn on Chromebook accessibility features
- Android: Android accessibility overview
Blackboard Learn (Blackboard or the VLE)
Blackboard Learn (referred to colloquially as Blackboard) is Ulster’s centrally supported Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
Blackboard is a third-party product, designed and developed to conform with the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA as well as the US Section 508 standards. As a result, its accessibility design is good but it nonetheless pre-dates the new UK legislation and areas of accessibility may arise that are not yet known.
The University is currently supporting its content creators (staff) with guidance and training on the creation of accessible learning, teaching and assessment resources. The content you will find on Blackboard has been uploaded by our user community of hundreds of University staff. As such the accessibility of content may vary between modules and content creators. Should you experience an accessibility issue, it should be referred for action/assistance under the routing advised by the general University statement.
Third-party content from other technology providers is displayed in Blackboard. Many will have their own good practice on accessibility but may not be fully compliant with the new legislation. In these cases, should you experience an accessibility issue, it should be referred for action/assistance under the routing advised by the general University statement.
As Blackboard is a third-party product the University will respond to accessibility issues and issue regular updates to this guidance.
The following custom adjustments are available to you in your user Blackboard interface and may help enhance your accessibility experience:
- change colours, contrast levels and fonts
- zoom in up to 300% without the text spilling off the screen except where content has been created by a user in such a way to not make this possible (for example within a non-responsive table)
- navigate the website using just a keyboard
- navigate the website using speech recognition software
- listen to most of the website using a screen reader.
Guides are available from Blackboard on the following topics (follow the embedded links):
- Understanding the structure and tag use of Blackboard pages
- Using ARIA based landmarks in Blackboard
- Keyboard navigation in Blackboard
- Using Screen readers with Blackboard
- Using Quick Links in Blackboard to navigate the current page
- Using Blackboard with a screen reader
University-supported digital learning technologies
The following digital tools and technologies are supported by the University and have standalone accessibility statements and best practice guides to explain how the software supports accessibility.
- Blackboard Collaborate Ultra https://help.blackboard.com/Collaborate/Ultra/Administrator/Accessibility
- Turnitin https://www.turnitin.com/about/accessibility
- Panopto - The following link outlines the key Panopto features to increase accessibility
- Qwickly https://www.goqwickly.com/accessibility/QwicklyCloudVPAT-April2017.pdf
- Office 365 https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trust-center/compliance/accessibility
Blackboard’s Voluntary Product Accessibility Report includes information regarding where the product does not meet the full WCAG 2.0 expectations. Under these circumstances, content uploaded by our user community may have accessibility issues.
Key areas of non-compliance may include:
- 1.1 Text Alternatives
- 1.1.1 Non-text Content
- 1.2 Time-based Media
- 1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)
- 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded)
- 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded)
- 1.2.4 Captions (Live)
- 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)
- 1.3 Adaptable
- 1.3.1 Info and Relationships
- 1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence
- 1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics
- 1.3.4 Orientation
- 1.4 Distinguishable
- 1.4.1 Use of Colour
- 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum)
- 1.4.5 Images of Text
- 1.4.10 Reflow
- 1.4.11 Non-text Contrast
- 1.4.12 Text Spacing
- 1.4.13 Content on Hover or Focus
With respect to areas that may not currently comply with accessibility regulations, the Office for Digital Learning at Ulster University will review the content and make attempts to provide the content in an alternative version where possible.
If you have specific needs you may wish to consult with an accessibility advisor within Student Support to discuss what support may be available. https://www.ulster.ac.uk/wellbeing/services/disability/accessability/what-support-is-available
Content exemption for reason of disproportionate burden
Panopto and other user-generated video content is currently not captioned. This does not meet WCAG 2.1A 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded).
We have assessed auto captioning solutions:
- current auto-captioning solutions are not considered to be sufficiently accurate to provide a suitable alternative version of video content.
- Ulster University is not able to offer manually captioned recorded content as standard, but we will monitor this and may be able to integrate captioning solutions in the future.