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Blackboard Tip: That's Accommodating

Blackboard Ultra has simplified the Accommodations settings for students, greatly streamlining the process.

One of the things instructional designers and instructors have to deal with in Blackboard is the repetitiveness of filling out accommodation settings for students requiring additional time due to ADA compliance. This leads to the course creators having to repeat several times the same information in different timed assignments throughout the course.

A student, for example, needing 1.5X the regular time to complete a test requires the designer to go into every individual test, quiz etc. and select that student’s name in the Test Availability Exceptions section of the Test Options pages and make the appropriate changes. Likewise, students that perhaps need date extensions for Incomplete courses or simply because they have obligations that made them miss assignments and got approval from the professor are also handled here.

Courses with weekly timed assignments can have in the ballpark of 15 or more individual assignments requiring this attention. As you can guess, it can be quite a time-consuming procedure.

Accommodations BbThat is until Blackboard Ultra came along. Now, professors can handle these accommodations in one fell swoop! The new management system only requires you to set student accommodations once this will make universal changes for the student throughout the course.

The designer simply needs to enter the course Roster link on the left-hand navigation for the course. After clicking the “View everyone in your course” link, you are taken to the Roster tab with a list of all people enrolled in the course.

Next, you find the student requiring accommodations and then click on the three dots (…) on the right side of the page associated with that student and choose “Accommodations” from the pop up window. The designer is now given a choice to grant them “Due Date Accommodations” or “Time Limit Accommodations.” For the latter, the professor simply puts the additional time percentage into the box labled “custom percentage” and the change is made throughout the course for all timed assignments.

One thing that might throw off designers used to the Test Availability Exceptions rules in the original Blackboard is the percentage number you add in Blackboard. In the old settings, you simply do the math and take the regular time and multiple by the accommodation requirement. A 50-minute test for a student needing 1.5X accommodation is set to 75 minutes in the Exceptions.

In Blackboard Ultra on the other hand, a student requiring 1.5X accommodation will need a 50% “extra time percentage.” 2X accommodations needs 100%, and so on. Possibly confusing at first, but it makes sense with repetition.