GVSU eLearning team attends BbWorld’19

System administrators Katie Clark and Colleen Cameron and eLearning and Instructional Technology Specialist, Vince St. Germain attended the national Blackboard “BbWorld’19 – Moving Education Technology Forward” conference which was held from July 22 – 25 in August, Texas.


Pictured left to right: Andrea Linn, Blackboard Account Executive, Vince St. Germain, Colleen Cameron, Katie Clark at the BbWorld Conference taking a ride in the Blackboard Ally “On the Road to IncluCity” VW Bus

Here are a few notes and highlights captured by the eLearning team and some photos too!:

Ally Roadmap Notes

New features in development or coming soon to Ally:

New Institutional Report:

Instead of With/Without Ally, the Institutional Report will display:

  • Overall Score: based on everything
  • File Score: Word docs, pdfs, etc.
  • Average WYSIWYG score: based on content from the text editor

Usage Reporting: Will be available to System Admins

Departmental Reporting: Based on institutional hierarchy and allow delegated access to departmental administrators (will require a Learn update)

Extended accessibility checklist with WCAG 2.1

Starting Trial of BeeLine Reader 

  • An additional alternative format (color pattern transition in text to help with reading)

Instructor-facing Course Report

  • Provides summary to instructors and helps with prioritization

WYSIWYG live scoring

Made Ally Indicators more prominent for students: Instead of the dropdown arrow, the A icon will display

The Ally Roadmap presentation concluded with a picture of Katie, Colleen, Vince, and Andrea on the way to IncluCity – because we’re kind of a big deal.


The first component of BbData has been released. Conference attendees encouraged to participate in 21 Days of Blackboard Data where participants can complete one challenge per day to help prepare for the developer release of BbData: https://21days.blackboard.com/

Tips and Tricks for Inexpensive Accessibility Testing

Elizabeth Simister

“All accessibility issues are usability issues, but not all usability issues are accessibility issues.”

This session provided an overview of some inexpensive techniques such as basic keyboard commands, color contrast analysis, use of operating system accessibility features, and how to interpret automated testing results from tools such as Axe, Wave, and SiteImprove. 

Some examples in the session: 

  • Check color contrast using a tool like Paceiello’s Color Contrast Analyzer.
  • Switch your computer to high-contrast mode.
  • Practice keyboard-only navigation to ensure that all (and only) interactive elements need keyboard focus.  
  • Pair a keyboard to a mobile device and check keyboard interaction.
  • Check mobile mode too (zoom to 200%).
  • Utilize accessibility features in Word/PowerPoint/PDFs.

Get Your Gauge Up! A Campus-Wide Blackboard Ally Implementation

Texas Tech University: Justin Louder, Lisa Leach, Chyrel Mayfield, Terry Knight

Changing the Culture: Go from Reactive to Proactive

  • Plan to be fully compliant within x years
  • Include milestones
  • Find a champion in each college/school
  • Pick the low-hanging fruit (e.g. use descriptive links instead of URLs; caption videos; use layouts in PPT; etc.)

ttu.edu/accessibility – documentation and templates for instructors

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