BNU accessibility statement and plan
Our website and Intranet
The website is run by Buckinghamshire New University and it is our goal that as many people as possible are able to access appropriately.
We are committed to making sure that people with disabilities are not disadvantaged and that our digital accessibility is as good as it can be.
Our guiding principles are:
- we will always use best practice to ensure digital accessibility
- to support current and new assistive technologies
- to promote best digital accessibility practice with staff and students
- to regularly review our practice and improve where we can
We have developed our website in accordance with the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (W3CWAI) standards and the requirements of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). We aim to meet or exceed the provisions of the Level 'AA' checklist included in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) where possible.
We welcome and value your feedback. Should you have questions or problems when accessing our website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our plan to address areas of the website that are not yet accessible
We know that parts of our website are not accessible. This is particularly so when resources available are considered. At BNU we have tended to use PDF files and we know that many of these are not very accessible. Our plan is to review our content and once we know the extent of the issue, to develop a more specific plan to address historical, current and future content. We aim to have this review completed by September 2021 and then review annually in each September.
Our digital learning systems and accessibility
Our digital accessibility Statement for the learning systems
This part of the statement and accompanying accessibility plan is for our digital learning environment (Blackboard Learn) and also includes our other platforms such as the media streaming service.
Our digital learning environment
Our statement is based upon the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and interpreted for our digital learning environment.
- Our content will be 'perceivable' to your senses. For example, we will ensure images and videos are accompanied by text descriptions.
- Our digital learning environment pages and resources will be 'operable', which means you can operate the interface. An example of this would our platforms are operable using a keyboard only.
- We will create pages and resources that are 'understandable' so you are able to understand the information we are providing. Typically this would relate to text based documents (such as MS Word or PowerPoint) where text is laid out under headings so that navigation is more straightforward
- Where possible, pages and resources will be 'robust'. This means that they can be interpreted by a wide variety of assistive technologies.
What we will do
- We will commit to raising awareness amongst our staff and students around the importance of creating accessible digital content.
- We will ensure that pages and documents are readable by assistive technologies.
- We will ensure pages and documents are accessible on a range of devices.
- We will provide you with opportunities to highlight difficulties in accessing content to academics and support services.
- We have adopted Blackboard ‘Ally’ which allows you to download resources in a wide range of accessible formats.
- We will direct you to support services should you need, for additional support.
Our plan to address content that is not yet accessible
The digital learning environment
The digital learning environment is made up of two elements: the systems themselves and the content that we upload into them.
The systems themselves are generally accessible and are regularly reviewed by the vendors and us. We aim to utilise Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) wherever possible as well as discussions with vendors about their services.
Content that is uploaded or created by staff and students however is entirely within University control and this plan sets out how we will deal with current, historical, and future learning resources.
Blackboard Learn content
We have been building content (resources) in Blackboard for many years. We know that a lot of this content is not fully accessible. We plan to deal with this content in the following way.
Academic year 2021 - 2022
Content that students interact with on a regular basis such as module or programme handbooks and anything related to assessment, we aim to make accessible commencing September 2021.
We will then deal with the remaining content in a logical way, making accessible content that is needed soonest or is least accessible a priority.
Much of our online content is historical. We intend to continue to make this content available but will not be making it all accessible unless this is requested. This is because we need to focus our resources on ensuring that content that is in current and high usage is prioritised. We will, however, ensure that where a particular request to make historical material accessible is made, that this is done at the earliest opportunity.
We aim to make all future content on Blackboard accessible. The University is able to monitor this process and intervene where content is deemed less than fully accessible.
BNU video system
We currently use Medial as our integrated media streaming platform. We are aware that Medial does not include any machine or automatic captioning service and whilst we will always fulfil our obligation for captioning as part of a reasonable adjustment request, we are actively exploring options to have all of our video captioned.
Mobile applications (apps)
We aim to have all University apps accessible by September 2021.
Other learning systems
The University has other learning systems such as polling or voting systems. Generally, these do not have much content as this is largely contained within Blackboard. Where these systems do have content, we aim to make that content accessible.
Reviewing our plans and statement
We plan to review our accessibility statement and plan twice in the first year in March 2022 and September 2022 and then annually each September.
How students can highlight difficulties in accessing content
First step is to approach your module leader. You can do this in person or by sending them an email.
We are actively working on a web-based feedback and request form. As soon as this is available we will update this plan.
If you are not happy with our response
We aim to help as soon as we can. Once you have reported a problem with Blackboard or any of our learning systems, or asked for an alternative format, but you are not happy with our response, you can let us know by raising a formal complaint via BNU Student Complaints procedure and we will respond to you.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the accessibility regulations. If you are not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).