Screen Reader Tutorial for Blackboard Learning System 9.x
In this document you will learn about:
About the UM-Flint Learning Management System and Student Portal
UM-Flint uses Blackboard as its learning management system (LMS), which is home to hundreds of online courses, mixed-mode courses, and online course companions.
Blackboard also serves as a student portal providing you with access to course materials posted by your professors, synchronous and asynchronous communication tools, customizable content portfolios, online storage for documents, links, and workflows, and the RefWorks bibliographic tool to help you organize your research and citations and format your bibliography.
To access the Blackboard portal:
NOTE: It is important to use the correct login information. If you use an incorrect username or password three times, you will be locked out of the system for 30 minutes.
If you are unsure of the correct login information or need to reset your LAN password follow these steps:
Characteristics of Blackboard
After you’ve logged in to http://bb.umflint.edu, you will see the MyUMFlint tab.
The major components of the Blackboard online environment include the Header frame with images and buttons customized by UM-Flint and Tabs that navigate to different areas within the Blackboard platform. Clicking on a tab will open that area in the Content frame. Once you click on a tab, its label will turn yellow to denote which tab you are using.
E-Mail: The Web-based Outlook program will allow you to view your student e-mail anywhere you have Internet access. Click on the Outlook Web Mail link of the Web Resources section of the Blackboard login page to be directed to Outlook Web Mail, or go to https://mail.umflint.edu.
Each online course offered at UM-Flint is hosted on a Web site. In order to view the courses you are participating in, click My UMFlint or the Courses tab.
Course Web sites contain all the content and tools required to complete a course. A course Web site consists of a Navigation path, a Course menu and a Content frame.
The Navigation path allows you to return to any page accessed between the main course page and the current page. The Course menu appears on the left side of a course and contains links to course materials and tools.
Based on your instructor’s preferences, the appearance of your online class and the setup of the course navigation menu might be slightly different in each class.
The content frame, "MyUMFlint", has a number of links that are customized to meet the individual user's needs and interests. They are divided into a list of links to Tools and modules. You or your institution's administrator can add other content to this page as well. The heading for this module is Tools.
The Tools list links to the following:
The following section on the "MyUMFlint" page contains portal modules. You can change the modules that appear on your page by selecting the "Add Module" link. The link is located in the "MyUMFlint" tab of the content frame. Blackboard Learning System installations include My Announcements, My Courses, My Organizations, Tools, Writing Tutoring, and Web Resources. Your school may have added other modules to this page by licensing the Blackboard Community Portal System, and you may be able to add modules to this page yourself.
Please be aware that the tools and modules are customizable by the Administrator. Tools may be added and default tools may be disabled.
Announcements are located on your "MyUMFlint" home page once you login. There is a table titled "My Announcements". If your Instructor has posted any announcements for your course, the course name will be listed followed by the newest announcement. If you wish to read all the Portal Announcements, select the "more announcements..." link to read all the previously posted announcements.
The Calendar is set to the "Month View" when selected. To ease your use of this tool it is recommended to select the "Week View". This set-up allows you to read what events are coming up by reading down the week instead of every day from a glance. Weekdays appear in headings and events information appear in unordered list in chronological order. Select the title of the event to view the details. Select "OK" to return to the previous screen at any time.
Weekdays are read in the heading and the event information is read in an unordered list in chronological order.
Adding an Event
The following areas are available for you to edit under personal information.
Change Personal Settings
Set Privacy Options
The following Privacy Options are available for you to make publicly available or unavailable:
Tasks are created by you or your Instructor to help you organize your assignments. You can edit the status of your task by selecting the checkbox next to the task(s) you want to change and then changing the status on the dropdown menu above the checkboxes. The available status changes are, "Not Started", "In Progress", or "Completed".
*Please be aware that after you select the link in the table, JAWS will only read that the page has updated, it will not read the new status automatically.
Adding a Task
After you create a task, you have the privilege to Modify or Remove it. If the Task was set by the Instructor, you will only have the ability to modify the status of the task.
After you select "View Grades" from the Tools menu on your MyUMFlint page, a list of your courses and organizations will be listed. Select the course for the grades you wish to view. A table of all your class's assignments opens in the content frame. All assignments will be listed whether a grade has been filled in or not. The column names are: "Item Name", "Details" (a link that gives you a category and description for the item), "Due Date", "Last Submitted, Modified, or Graded", "Grade", "Points Possible", and "Comments". Select the "OK" button to return you to your MyUMFlint page.
Selecting the "Send Email" link from the MyUMFlint page lists your currently enrolled courses and organizations. Select the course for which you would like to send an email to. After choosing your course you are linked to the "Send Email" tool within the Course Tools. You have the option of sending an email to:
When sending an email to "All" users you only need to fill in the subject and message and Submit your email. If you you choose to send an email to a "Select" user, you will need to select the user(s) from the "Available to Select" box and move the user to the "Selected" box. From there you can fill in your subject and message and Submit your email. A copy of your sent message will be sent to your Webmail.
The User Directory is a search function. You can search users by First Name, Last Name, Username, or Email. You can also begin a search in the "Starts With" tab and enter the first few letters of the User's name.
You can maintain your own list of contacts with the Address Book. The main address book page has a "Create Contact" link as well as a search field to search your contacts. The search field operates the same way as the User Directory search.
Adding a Contact
Once you select a course you will enter a screen with four frames:
The frame setup is a little complicated. Here are the main points to help you navigate the page.
Course Content Frame
The Course Content Frame has two frames within it. JAWS does not give you a second layer frames list, but tabbing will take you through them. The frames are called Table of Contents and Main, and the content you need is in the Main Frame.
The links in the standard Table of Contents Frame are:
Please be aware that Instructors can delete the links they do not plan on using or they can rename links to fit their needs. For example, your Instructor could rename "Course Information" and call it "Syllabus". Instructors can also change the order of the links.
The Announcement page is the default page in the content frame after entering a course. There are links to read the current day's announcements, the last seven days, the last 30 days or all of the announcements for that course.
Instructors can post any information pertaining to their course in this folder. They also have the ability to modify or delete the folder if they feel it does not fit their course model.
Staff Information is used for Instructors to list their contact information and office hours.
This link is most likely changed the most. This is the link that will contain the majority of the information you will need for your course. Such items could include PowerPoint lecture notes or Assignments.
The main communication tools that you will come in contact with include the Virtual Classroom, Chat, and Discussion Board. The Virtual Classroom and Chat are located under the Collaboration tool within . The Discussion Board is located in the general Communications tool list.
Blackboard’s Accessible Chat tool uses the Java Accessibility API to provide keyboard shortcuts and descriptive ToolTips (alt tags), that screen readers can use to help you navigate through the chat. Some screen readers may work directly with the Java Accessibility API. However, some, such as JAWS for Windows, require an additional utility, the Java Access Bridge.
Download the access bridge from http://java.sun.com/products/accessbridge/ (this link will open in a new window, or tab in Firefox)
*Please be aware that in some cases JAWS will not read the Chat tool as being viewed. Inform your Instructor if you encounter any problems entering or not being able to read the chat. It is recommended that you discuss alternate methods of communication with your Instructor if this becomes an issue.
In the Discussion Board tool, you can:
Read the suggestions below on how to interact with this page in the most efficient manner when using a screen reader.
Search for a Forum
You can search in the Discussion board two different ways. You can search in the "Current Discussion Board" or "All Forums in Course". The Search feature is located in the Main Frame on the main Discussion Board page. Enter in your Search criteria and select a search option from the menu. You have the option to select a specific date if you want to refine your search. Select "Go" when you are finished entering in your search criteria.
Choose a Forum
The first page in the Discussion Board tool lists all of the available forums for the class or organization. The Forums are organized into tables on the main page. The headings are: "Forum", "Total Posts", "Unread Posts", and "Total Participants". "Participants" is the number of students that have posted in response to the Forum or Thread. In the table, the title of the discussion board is a link, and it is followed by a description. You can enter a discussion board forum by selecting the title link. If you select a Forum that does not contain any posts you will hear, "There are no accessible items or items that match the search criteria to display". To return to the main Discussion Board page after hearing this message select the "OK" button.
Find a Message
Once you have entered a Forum, you will be in the central discussion page that lists all the Threads and available features in that Forum. Threads branch off from each Forum. Within each Thread there are individual Posts from the participants. The Thread is read as a link. Also listed is the total number of posts and the number of unread posts. Each reply post will be named as a response with the same title as the Thread. You can sort the list by selecting one of the following columns: "Date", "Thread" (alphabetical order), "Author" (alphabetical order), "Status" (published, draft, etc.), "Unread Posts", and "Total Posts".
For ease of use, you can read all of the unread posts in a thread by selecting the "Unread Posts" link. There is also a link, "Mark as Read" for when you have finished reading the post.
Read a Message
Once you enter a forum, select the thread of which messages you want to read. You can either select the link of the name of the thread or select the thread by "checking" the thread name and selecting the "Collect" link.
Reply to a Post
To reply to a post, select the "Reply" link in the same frame as the post that you would like to reply to. The "Reply to Post" page is read with the post that you are responding to. The subject of the message is a default reply with the subject of the original post. Enter your own message in the text box. Attach any necessary files. You have the option to save a draft of your message that you can return to later. When you are finished, select the Submit button.
Create a New Thread
To create a new Thread enter the Forum to which you want to respond to. Select the Create Thread link. Enter a subject to your message. The subject should be a subtopic of the Forum title/ instructions. Enter your message into the text box. Attach any necessary files. You have the option to save a draft of your message that you can return to later. When you are finished, select Submit.
About the tools
Course Address Book
The Course Address Book functions the same as the Address Book on your MyUMFlint page.
The Course Calendar functions the same as the Calendar that is available from your MyUMFlint page.
The Glossary is made by your Instructor and contains a list of terms pertinent to your course.
Reading your grades through Course Tools is similar to "viewing your grades" from your My Institution page. The same page of grades is read; however, you do not need to select the specific course because you are already in the course for which grades you want to see.
The Course Tasks function the same way as the Tasks from your My Institution page. The only difference is that within a course, you do not have the ability to create your own task; the tasks are set by your Instructor. You can still update the status of your tasks within a course but you can only Add a Task from the My Institution Task page.
JAWS Quick Keys
The following is a list of JAWS quick keys to use when Browsing the Internet. The information is provided by Freedom Scientific (link opens in a new window, or tab in Firefox). There are many other tables provided by the Freedom Scientific, please visit the Website for more help if needed. JAWS also has its own help section if you cannot find what you are looking for.
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