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Accessibility Statement for Learning Edge (Blackboard)

This accessibility statement applies to

This website is run by Edge Hill University.  Blackboard is a centrally supported Virtual Learning Environment that is a commercial product designed and developed, by Blackboard, in accordance with internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA as well as US section 508 standards.

We currently support two versions of the VLE including Blackboard Learn Original and Blackboard Learn Ultra, Full rollout of Ultra takes place September 2023 with access to Original remaining for those who require it.

Anthology provide detailed information about Learn software applications and its accessibility along with a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) on their site.

We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

  • enable high contrast colours
  • zoom in up to 200% without the text spilling off the screen. Zoom in up to 400% for the remainder of the web page without issue.
  • navigate most of the website using just a keyboard
  • navigate most of the website using speech recognition software
  • listen to most of the website using a screen reader such as NVDA and JAWS.

AbilityNet has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.

How accessible this website is

We know some parts of this website are not fully accessible:

  • You cannot modify the line height or spacing of text for some elements without the availability of Ally Alternative Formats (Immersive Reader).
  • Most older PDF documents are not fully accessible.
  • Some Microsoft Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) files are not fully accessible.
  • Some images do not include an alt attribute (alt text).

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, html, ePub, audio or braille please firstly use the Ally tool which is incorporated within Blackboard itself, we have provided a short video guide “Ally for students”.

Alternatively, please contact your course or module tutor to request the content you require in an alternative format.

If this does not provide you with the relevant alternative format for the content you require please contact us.

We’ll review your request, let you know who is dealing with it and give you a timescale by which you can expect a reply.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, please contact us.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you contact us with a complaint and you’re not happy with our response, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Technical information about Blackboard’s accessibility

Edge Hill University is committed to making Blackboard accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

Blackboard is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

This section will cover aspects of the VLE that need to be fixed with regard to the accessibility regulations.  The issues listed refer to both the platform itself and the content that resides within the platform.

The Blackboard platform is a proprietary Virtual Learning Environment and as such we have very limited control over aspects of accessibility specific to the platform itself.  Blackboard have an accessibility commitment within their company and have provided a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) report for the platform and they provide further information on accessibility options for the platform.

We have highlighted below some known accessibility issues within Blackboard and content within the platform.  We plan to fix or provide alternatives for any issues in conjunction with enhancements and fixes provided by Blackboard.

Platform issues

Images without a description or with redundant text alternative

Some images have an inadequate text alternative, and some decorative images have redundant text alternatives (WCAG 1.1.1).

Headings, data tables and lists within incorrect semantics

Some headings have not been identified, some data tables are not structured correctly, and some lists do not use HTML list markup (WCAG 1.3.1).

Data tables with incorrect reading sequence

Some data tables are not marked up as tables, making it impossible to programmatically determine the structure and column and row headers (WCAG 1.3.2).

Missing keyboard access functionality

Some buttons and links are not reachable or operable using the keyboard.  Time pickers are not reachable or operable using the keyboard.  Some tooltips are not exposed using the keyboard-alone (WCAG 2.1.1).

Missing skip link

Grade assignment skip link does not work (WCAG 2.4.1).

Inadequate link purpose descriptions

Some link phrases do not adequately describe the target (WCAG 2.4.4).

Contrast issues

Some instances of text that has insufficient contrast between foreground and background colours (WCAG 1.4.3)

Some instances of non-text that has insufficient contrast between the foreground and background colours, or adjacent colours (WCAG 1.4.11)

Content issues


Some documents contain text with low contrast between the text and its background. This can cause the text to be difficult to read, especially for those with low vision, poor eyesight or colour blindness.


Some images do not have a description or alternative text. People with screen readers or other assistive devices rely on this description to understand the image’s contents and purpose. Having a clear description for an image can help everyone better understand the content of the image and how it relates to the context.  Some images, such as purely decorative images, do not require alt text.

Heading structures and styles

Some documents don’t contain any marked-up headings. Headings are important as they provide structure to a document, especially those that consist of many pages. When headers are properly and consistently used, the document becomes much easier to understand and navigate for all users, and provides additional benefits such as the ability to automatically generate a Table of Contents.


Some documents contain tables that don’t have or properly specify a header structure. People with screen readers or other assistive devices rely on a semantically meaningful and correct heading structure to help them navigate the table and understand the meaning of every cell, but it can be beneficial to everyone to have a clear structure in the table.

Untagged PDFs

Some PDF documents are not tagged. PDF tags are hidden labels that clarify the structure of the document and define what’s a heading, paragraph, table, list, etc

Disproportionate burden

This section will include information on any aspects of this website where we are claiming a disproportionate burden.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

PDFs and other documents

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are not essential to providing our services and were published before 23rd September 2018.  You can use the Ally tool within Blackboard to download these in a range of alternative formats.

Third party content

Blackboard contains content that was created by third parties and as such we have no direct control over the accessibility of this content.  Where possible we will endeavour to work with third parties to improve accessibility of relevant content.

Live video

We do not add captions to live video streams however we provide live caption support through the Caption.Ed app, an AI powered browser extension for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Caption.Ed will generate captions of any live or pre-recorded audio and can be used in a live in-person learning scenario such as a lecture.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

At Edge Hill University we are continually striving to improve accessibility in terms of our digital systems, skills and knowledge.  We have developed an extensive staff development programme along with supporting materials, including guides and videos, around accessibility and the creation of accessible content.

We have deployed the Ally tool within the Blackboard platform and have been working continuously since then with colleagues to improve the accessibility of the content within the platform.

As of September 2023, a Course Level Accessibility Statement template aimed at making content that does not fully meet accessibility guidelines will help user discoverability. Academics can use the template to identify content within the course and its location.


“Week / Block / Theme 1 > Task 1: Read – item has an image [online-course-design-team.png] with contrast issues that may be difficult for some people to view”.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 16th September 2020. It was last reviewed on 24th July 2023. This website was last tested on 23rd August 2023. The test was carried out by Edge Hill University.