NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Required Changes: Improving Online Course Content Accessibility

To comply with federal and state regulations, UH’s SAM policy (01.D.13) requires instructional materials posted in learning modules (i.e., Blackboard) to be accessible to those with disabilities. The material needs to be compliant regardless of whether you have a student with accommodations for disabilities in your course. Details of the University policy: EIRA Policy - University of Houston.

Overall, NSM content in Blackboard currently has rather low accessibility ratings.

We ask that all instructors address the issue in their courses. You can use the Blackboard Ally tool to identify issues with accessibility in your course content. Orange and yellow gauges appearing on your content are indicators that something about the document is not fully compliant. If you click on the gauge, you are taken to a pop out that identifies the issue and helps you adjust the document.

Quick Fixes to Improve Your Accessibility Scores in Blackboard

  • Delete PDF and Word documents that are saved on Blackboard but are no longer in use.
  • Tag the images in Word documents with a brief description of what is in the image.
  • Do not scan documents to images or post as PDF. Screen readers cannot navigate this type of content.

For more information on utilizing Blackboard Ally to increase accessibility scores, the Office of Equal Opportunity Services offers a Blackboard Ally training video or contact the FDIS Instructional Designers to schedule trainings. Support is also available via NSM-IT. Please contact Andrea Arias-Rodriguez (aariasr2@central.uh.edu) or Ngozi Onwuama (nuonwuam@central.uh.edu) for assistance.

Upcoming NSM Faculty Development Workshop - October 21, 1-2 pm

Faculty are invited to attend the upcoming NSM Faculty Development Workshop. The workshop is offered in a hybrid format.

Topic: Meeting Requirements for Online Course Content Accessibility
Date/Time: Friday, October 21, 1-2 pm.
Location for In Person Attendees: Science Teaching Laboratories, Rroom 106
Online Details: Microsoft Teams: Click here to join the meeting, Meeting ID: 286 324 603 629, Passcode: KUEYAE