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Accessibility statement for Minerva – Bath Spa University

Accessibility statement for Minerva Ultra (VLE)

This accessibility statement applies to Minerva Ultra, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Bath Spa University, which holds the majority of our learning, teaching and assessment resources and activities. We're committed to making the VLE as accessible as possible to all users.

Minerva Ultra is powered by Blackboard Learn, a software application designed and developed by Blackboard to meet internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility standards. The statement covers the accessibility of Blackboard Learn, the application that runs Minerva Ultra. Other tools integrated within the platform, such as Turnitin or Panopto, have separate accessibility documents.

Using the VLE

We want as many students and staff as possible to be able to use Minerva Ultra. For example, this means that you should be able to:

  • Zoom in up to 200% without the text spilling off the screen
  • Navigate most of the site using just a keyboard
  • Navigate most of the site using speech recognition software
  • Listen to most of the site using a screen reader

Customising the site to meet your needs

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

Alternative formats

We provide a tool called Blackboard Ally within Minerva Ultra that allows you to download all uploaded content in a range of alternative formats to suit a variety of needs, including electronic Braille, tagged PDF, ePub, MP3 audio, BeeLine Reader and Immersive Reader.

Guidance on accessing and downloading Blackboard Ally alternative formats.

Navigating the site

The following guides cover Blackboard Learn accessibility features and provide tips for using and navigating the platform:

How accessible is the VLE

Blackboard Learn, the platform that powers Minerva Ultra, is a product designed and developed to meet internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility standards. Blackboard Inc provides a full accessibility statement for Blackboard Learn which includes a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) for Blackboard Learn SaaS.

We know that some parts of the VLE are not fully accessible:

  • Zooming in beyond 200% causes some layout issues
  • You cannot modify the line height or spacing of text
  • Some older PDF documents are not fully accessible to screen reader software
  • Live video streams do not have captions
  • Some pages have elements with poor contrast issues
  • Some images do not contain a description
  • Some documents are untagged
  • Some tables do not have headers
  • Some heading elements are not consistent

Content is created, uploaded and curated by a large community of users (mainly staff but sometimes students), who can sometimes use the platform in a way that makes the VLE less accessible, and upload or make content available that is not accessible.

What to do if you can't access parts of Minerva Ultra

If you can't access content in your courses, need content provided in a different format to help you access it, or have questions or concerns about the accessibility of your learning materials, please contact your tutor and the module coordinator in the first instance.

If you have problems accessing digital Library books or journal articles from Minerva Ultra, please contact the Library team:

If you wish to talk about your access requirements, please contact the Student Wellbeing Services team:

Remember that you can download materials found in Minerva Ultra in a range of alternative formats, including electronic Braille, tagged PDF, ePub, MP3 audio and Immersive Reader via Blackboard Ally.

Feedback and contact information

If you experience difficulties accessing information on this page and need it in a different format such as accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille, please email

We'll review your request and will get back to you within five working days.

Reporting accessibility problems in Minerva Ultra

We're always looking to improve the accessibility of Minerva Ultra. Please contact us if you find issues in the VLE that aren't listed on this page or think that we're not meeting accessibility requirements.

You can contact a member of the Compliance team

We'll consider your request and will get back to you within five working days.

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’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Technical information about Minerva’s accessibility

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

Compliance status

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

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is not accessible for the following reasons:

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

The issues listed in this section refer to both non-compliances of the platform and the user created content hosted in Minerva, our VLE.

Platform issues identified by Blackboard Learn's VPAT

As Minerva Ultra is powered by the Blackboard Learn platform, some aspects of its accessibility are beyond our control. Blackboard provides detailed accessibility information on their website and the product’s non-compliances can be found in the VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template).

Our testing has found the following further issues:

  • Zooming in beyond 200% causes some layout issues with loss of content and functionality. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.4 Resize Text.
  • The line height, spacing between paragraphs and letter and word spacing cannot be changed without loss of content or functionality so that people with low vision, dyslexia or cognitive disabilities may find it difficult to read the text, or lose content or functionality. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.12.  Text spacing.

User generated content

Content in the VLE is created and uploaded by a large number of users; as such, the level of accessibility may vary between users and courses depending on who created the content.

Some user added content found in the VLE may not fully meet WCAG 2.1 AA Success Criteria:

Content that is not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

  • PDFs and other documents: The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they are not essential for active administrative processes. This may affect, for example, content found in older courses in Minerva Ultra to which you may still have access.
  • Video: Some video recordings do not have captions or may lack accurate edited captions or transcripts. The regulations do not apply to recorded videos published before 23 September 2020.
  • Live video: Most of our video streams do not have captions. We encourage presenters to use automatic live captions, where possible, but we do not plan to add captions to live video streams at this stage. Adding captions to live video streams is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.

What we're doing to improve accessibility

We're committed to improving the accessibility of the VLE to benefit all users.

We've added Blackboard Ally to Minerva Ultra. This tool enables users to download alternative formats from the VLE on demand. Ally helps staff identify and remediate accessibility issues with the content they create and upload to their courses in Minerva Ultra. It also allows the University to monitor the accessibility of content uploaded to target staff development activities and improve the accessibility of content in the VLE.

We provide guidance and training to staff on the creation of accessible and inclusive resources.

We continue to monitor the VLE’s accessibility and carry out regular testing to identify, review and try to resolve accessibility issues.

Third party accessibility links

Several third party tools are integrated in or linked from the VLE.

Detailed information about the accessibility of these products and statements of compliance can be found below:

A VPAT, or Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, is a document prepared by a product developer or vendor which describes how well the product conforms to the accessibility standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the USA. They evaluate how accessible a product is against WCAG 2.0 standards.

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 9 June 2020.

It was last reviewed on 17 April 2023.

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