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Learning Management Systems Accessibility Documentation

Accessibility features for Discussion Board/Forum

This is the first draft for minimum accessibility features for an embedded Discussion Board/module in an LMS.
This recommendation will be shared and discussed with the Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and SAKAI and possibly with Moodle accessibility groups. The goal is to standardize some minimum accessibility features for different components for any arbitrary LMS.

General Accessibility Features
Note that at this time I am just focusing only on those features that are required to support accessibility features in the Discussion board.


Session credentials (username/password) along with user’s preferences such as preferred editor must be transferred automatically.


We can discuss the technique when we meet.

Discussion board specific accessibility features


The subscribe/unsubscribe action should be inline wiht the Forum or thread subject.
The action should be a toggle button; subscribe or unsubscribe depending on the status.


Reply: takes you directly to the Reply page for that specific topic.
Thread: takes you to the corresponding thread page.
Forum: takes you to the corresponding forum.


Buttons are preffered; no button simulation please.


Table is OK to bbe used to display discussion postings.
Each column should have a unique column heading
Each column heading contains only one element
Each applicable column heading is a toggle link that sorts accordingly
Sort criteria are easily identifyable. E.G. Date descending (arrow down).
Functionality should be given to open a topic in a separate browser window/tab without LMS framework.


Needs more research. What are the common filter options?


User should be able to use plain HTML code. Other options are LMS specific format (if applicable), plain text, rich format, Wiki-style format, Java-based authoring environment, etc.
User should be able to set the default authoring format in the preference settings and it should be maintained across the application.
When copying from other authoring tools such as MS Word and pasting into the content area, all non-standard HTML code, all inline formatting, and depricated markups should be stripped out; user should be also informed about it via standard dialogue box.
User should be able to view the message before submitting it.
Clearly all the form controls should be keyboard accessible with proper labels.


Depending on how a forum/thread/topic is viewed, they should always follow a logical structure. E.g. all forums should be H2, all threads should be H3, and all topics should be h4.
The essential posting header such as the sender should be also a heading to allow keyboard users to move quickly within the discussion board.