Accessibility statement for Minerva (VLE)
Minerva, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) at Bath Spa University, 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 is powered by Blackboard Learn, a software application designed and developed by Blackboard to meet internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility standards.
This statement covers the accessibility of Blackboard Learn, the application that runs Minerva. Other tools integrated within the platform, such as Turnitin or Panopto, have separate accessibility statements.
Using this website
We want as many students and staff as possible to be able to use Minerva. For example, this means that you should be able to:
- Change contrast levels and font size
- Zoom in up to 200% without the text spilling off the screen, except where content has been created by a user in a way that make this not possible (within a non-responsive table, for example)
- 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 – My computer my way has advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.
We provide a tool called Blackboard Ally within Minerva that allows you to download resources in a range of alternative formats including electronic Braille, tagged PDF, ePub and MP3 audio.
Navigating the site
The following guides cover Blackboard Learn accessibility features and provide tips for using and navigating the platform:
- Using and navigating Blackboard Learn
- Keyboard navigation in Blackboard Learn
- Using Blackboard Learn with a screen reader
- Accessibility features in Blackboard Learn, including
How accessible is this site
Blackboard Learn, the application that powers Minerva, 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).
We know that some parts of the Blackboard Learn application are not fully accessible, such as:
- Zooming in beyond 200% causes some layout issues, with the global navigation menu disappearing
- The calendar tool uses colour to indicate information (with no alternative provided) and the date picker is not operable via keyboard
- When using the keyboard to navigate the site, the space bar does not trigger some of the buttons.
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
If you can't access content in your modules, 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 module coordinator in the first instance. You could also consider speaking to your course rep.
If you have problems accessing digital Library books or journal articles from Minerva, 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 in a range of alternative formats, including electronic Braille, tagged PDF, ePub and MP3 audio 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll review your request and will get back to you within five working days.
Reporting accessibility problems in Minerva
We're always looking to improve the accessibility of Minerva. 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
- by email at email@example.com
- by phone on +44 (0)1225 875875
- or in person at our Newton Park campus reception.
We'll consider your request and will get back to you within five working days.
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.
Minerva is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances listed below.
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.
As Minerva 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 issues:
- Zooming in beyond 200% causes some layout issues with the global navigation menu disappearing. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.4 Resize Text.
- The calendar tool uses colour to indicate information (with no alternative provided) and the date picker is not operable via keyboard. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.1 Use of Color.
- There is a single page title across all pages, meaning that different pages are not distinguishable from each other using the page title. This fails WCAG 2.1. success criterion 2.4.2 Page Titled.
User generated content
Content in Minerva is created and uploaded by a large number of users (staff mainly, but also some students); as such, the level of accessibility may vary between users and modules.
Some content found in Minerva does not fully comply with the accessibility regulations:
- Images without description: Some images do not have an alternative description. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 Non-text Content.
- Contrast issues: Some pages/documents contain insufficient contrast between the text or elements and the background. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.11 Non-Text Contrast.
- Unstructured documents/lack of headings: Some documents/pages do not contain headings or lack consistent marked-up headings providing structure and clarity. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value.
- Untagged PDFs: Some PDFs do not contain tags (hidden labels that clarify the structure of the document distinguishing what is a heading, a paragraph, a table, a list, etc). This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.3.1 Info and Relationships.
- Documents that are scanned but not OCRed: Some documents/pages are scanned. You can use Blackboard Ally to generate OCRed versions of scanned documents.
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, for example, content found in older modules in Minerva 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. This tool enables users to download alternative formats from the VLE on demand. Ally also allows us to monitor the accessibility of content uploaded to Minerva 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 Minerva’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 Minerva or linked from the VLE.
Detailed information about the accessibility of these products and statements of compliance can be found below:
- Blackboard Collaborate Ultra accessibility information and VPAT
- Google Suite accessibility information and Google products VPATs
- Panopto accessibility information and Panopto VPAT
- Turnitin accessibility information and VPATs
- Unitu accessibility statement
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.