Newman University’s Mahara Accessibility Statement

Newman University’s Mahara Accessibility Statement

Last Updated: September 25th 2019

1. About Mahara

Mahara is the brand name for an electronic portfolio system commonly used in educational institutions.

Mahara’s website is at
Newman’s Mahara is hosted and managed by Newman University and can be accessed from MyNewman or directly from

2. Mahara’s accessibility statement

“Mahara aims to be usable by as many individuals as possible, including those with disabilities or special needs. To this end, any discrepancies from major accessibility standards, guidelines or legislation shall be logged as defects in the bug tracker, and tagged with “accessibility”, for inclusion in an appropriate release. ”

“Accessibility features in Mahara
Here are some of the accessibility features in Mahara. These features were first included in Mahara 1.9. They can be found in both pages for creating and editing content and pages for viewing content.

  • Keyboard-accessible controls and elements
    • People who use only the keyboard can now access the dropdown menus in the main navigation.
    • We have also worked on the keyboard accessibility of the controls for creating pages.
  • Descriptive alt text for images: We have provided alt text for images such as those used in pages for viewing content. This is very important to blind users in understanding the overall content of the pages.
  • Properly labelled graphical links and controls
    • Graphical links such as the one for editing the user’s profile picture now have alt text. This lets screen reader users know the purpose of the graphical links.
    • Buttons and checkboxes are now labeled. This is especially helpful in complex forms.
  • Use of focus management: In certain pages, focus is moved to the next logical section after the user has activated a specific button or link. This enables users of assistive technology to quickly determine their location in the page and their next step.
  • Text descriptions for screen reader users: The tabs such as the ones in the Profile page now have a textual indicator informing screen reader users about the currently selected tab.”

These quotes are from and were sourced on 22 August 2019.
For more information see Mahara: Accessibility.

3. Using Newman’s Mahara

Mahara is a little different to most other web sites in that apart from its front page and system pages (e,g, profiles) the content is produced by individual users (predominately students) and only seen by others if it is shared.

Pages produced by staff fall into two main categories.

  1. Support pages seen by all users created by the e-Learning team.
  2. Pages created by academics and shared with their students so as to be used as templates.

All support pages are as accessible as we can make them. (Structured headings and lists, with alternative text for images, captioned videos and good colour contrast)
We encourage academics to make their shared pages as accessible as they can.

For advice about making your device (phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer) easier to use if you have a disability, see AbilityNet.

4. Which parts of Mahara do not meet accessibility standards and why?

4.1. Possibly some shared pages

Content on Newman’s Mahara can be created and uploaded by staff and students.

Examples of such content:

  • Files (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, PDFs)
  • Mahara Pages (web pages containing text and multimedia)
  • Links to external content (e.g. YouTube videos)

All users of  Mahara at Newman are made aware of accessibility regulations when they go into Mahara and encouraged to fix any issues before making their pages available to other users or to seek help from the e-Learning team.

Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that some materials may have been in use before the regulations came into force and also that some users may find it technically challenging to fix everything.

We aim to fix such issues as soon as possible if reported.


4.2 Anything else?

If you are aware of any other areas of Mahara which have issues, please email Bob Ridge-Stearn

5. Who to contact if you cannot access something on Mahara

5.1 Your tutor

If you have problems accessing materials that were created and shared by your tutor, contact your tutor in the first instance. He/She may be able to supply you with an alternative version or convert the material that you cannot access. Your module leader’s contact details can be found in ‘Module Information’ at the top of any Moodle course page.

5.2 The e-Learning Dept.

You can also contact the e-Learning team who will be happy to either show you how to access the material or convert it into a different format that you can access.

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our Mahara, so if you find any problems or have any suggestions, please contact the Head of e-Learning –

6. What to do if you are not happy with our response

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 notification or request, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

[Last updated: August 2019 by Bob Rideg-Stearn]

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