Alt Tags for Blackboard LMS Content

 Accessible LMS Files

Most LMS system provide means for adding accessibility in online course content.  But that does not mean the content added to Blackboard is going to have the appropriate markup.  This blog post covers a few ideas related to adding alt tags to images that are in the content shown in Blackboard, though other LMS system are going to have similar needs. If you want to make your content more accessible, read on.


First, you should know the steps to creating content directly with Blackboard’s “Insert Item” command.  When you add an “item” into Blackboard you can then insert a picture into that item.  An ALT tag can be added to the picture by typing in an Image description.  First you’ll name you new item, then you can type in whatever content you like, plus add a picture.  If you know about web design, you can also switch to the HTML view and add mark Blackboard add item


up to your file.  Below you will see the picture of starting the creation. 

The icon for adding a picture is highlighted.


Or you can edit the code for the file using the buttons for HTML and CSS.adding alt tag blackboard


If you don’t enter a description Blackboard will prompt you with a message:




Are you sure you want to continue without including an Image Description? Without it the image may not be accessible to some users with disabilities, or to those using a text browser, or browsing the Web with images turned off.

Of course, one can add an alt tag using the HTML button, if you know how.

Alt Text in Word and PowerPoint

Depending on what version of Word and PowerPoint you are using.  Generally, you can right click and inserted picture and then find a format picture or edit alt text command.  In this example the description would be “accessibility icon.”

Accessibility icon blue and white

More complex pictures may require a lot more description, and when that description becomes lengthy, like over 2 sentences long, then writing that into the document may be essential.  If the item is only for decoration, then and empty alt tag may be best.

Below: This is what it looks like in Word.  The text reads, “How would you describe this object and its context to someone who is blind.”

adding an alt tag in word

Empty alt attribute

Web-based content is marked up with HTML code that tells your web browser how to display text and images. The HTML image tag looks like this:

<img src=“picture.jpg”>

The empty attribute (also called “null”) looks like this:

<img src=”picture.jpg” alt=“ ”>

This attribute lets the screen reader user know that there is an image but that there is no description for it. The attribute is useful where the image is purely decorative but should not be used when the image holds meaning.

Related Article

Faculty Images and Universal Design for Learning (UDL)










Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *