Blackboard and Assistive Technologies:Using Screen Magnification

Because of the way that Blackboard is designed it is not as flexible as many web pages that exist and therefore sometimes does not lend itself to ease of use with screen magnification software.  The wide layout requires a large amount of scrolling back and forth when using magnification. This takes additional time.  Another difficulty that many students report is that different courses are arranged differently and it takes some time to learn how each course is set up.

Specific information will be added as available about usability with screen magnification software.  In the meantime, here are some suggestions for setting up Blackboard in a way that may increase usability for a person with low vision.

Changing Your Blackboard Settings

Font Size

You can adjust the size of fonts that are used within Blackboard.  Once you log in, follow these steps:

  • Select “My Settings” link in right upper corner.
  • Select the “My Tool Options” Tab
  • Scroll down to Font Type and Size and select the ones you want from the pull-down menu.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the “Save” button.
  • Your preferences should be saved.
Channels and Layout

When you first log in to Blackboard, you will see several items there by default.  You can reduce what appears so that your view is less cluttered.  You can always add these items back if you learn that it will be helpful to you in keeping up with course content.  To simplify your view, follow these steps:

  • Select the “Channels” link.
  • Deselect any boxes of items you do not expect to use.
  • Some that might be removed are “To Do List”, “Who’s Online”, and “Personal Bookmarks.”
  • Select the “Save” button at the bottom of the page.
  • Next choose the link called “Layout.”
  • Select the “My Grades” radio button.
  • Find the image with the 4 arrows around it and the word “Move” in the middle.
  • Select the arrow that points to the right.
  • Select the “Save” button at the bottom of the page.
  • This will reduce the number of columns in your view to only two and the first thing you see will be the list of courses.
Color Contrast

Blackboard has an option that allows you to choose “high contrast” colors.

  • Choose the “Colors” link.
  • Choose the button that says “Use High Contrast Colors”.
  • Select the “Apply” button at the bottom of the page.
  • Note:  This will not affect colors that have been chosen by your professor for his design.

Using the Tools and Known Problems will be posted soon.

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