Headings are a critical, but often overlooked, aspect of creating accessible content in Blackboard. Headers “provide screen reader users the ability to jump directly to specific content,” which allows them to navigate through content at their own pace. Like many popular tools such as Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, Blackboard provides formatting options to you when you create content. This helps you properly build structure in your documents. If you are worried about the accessibility of your online course, editing content for headers is a good place start.
Create Headings with Blackboard Tools
When creating an item in Blackboard, you are most likely presented with a text box accompanied by numerous formatting and style tools. Blackboard provides an easy-to-use tool to create headings and subheadings in your text box. The tool is located in the top row, to the right of the strikeout tool, as you can see here:
While creating content in a text box, each word you type will automatically be given the label “paragraph.” Blackboard gives you a few different options for formatting labels including “Heading,” “Subheading 1,” “Subheading 2,” “Paragraph,” and “Formatted Code.”
In order to give your content formatting labels like these, you first need to type in your content. Then, highlight the content that you want to format.
Click on the format tool in the top row and select the heading option you prefer.
After you select your formatting option, Blackboard automatically changes the format of the text. Please note that you can change the font/size/color of the text while maintaining your formatting selection. Here is an example of what Blackboard’s presets for formatting options look like:
Blackboard makes formatting headings, subheadings, paragraphs, and formatted code easy with this tool! You can even go back to old content and apply these settings for more navigable content. For the more tech savvy, Blackboard also allows you to create headings with HTML
Create Headings with HTML
If you prefer to work with HTML in Blackboard, you can also apply headers using these HTML codes:
Subheading 1: <h5></h5>
Subheading 2: <h6></h6>
Formatted Code: <pre></pre>
To view the HTML for your content item in Blackboard, select the HTML tool button on the bottom row of the text box. It is highlighted in light gray below:
When you select this button, a pop-up will appear. You should now see the HTML of your text. Here is what the HTML of my text looks like:
According to Blackboard Help, “the numbers in the heading style create a structural context for the screen reader. This helps non-visual users understand the content even when they cannot see the visual breaks in the document.”