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Blackboard Ally

Ally Overview & Availability

Ally is a tool that integrates into Canvas and works to support content creators ensure that the materials they are creating and using are accessible.

On June 30, 2017 SBCTC signed a system contract for the use of Blackboard's Ally and will subsidize part of the cost for the first two years of the contract. Contact your elearning office for information about if and when your college is participating in the system-wide Ally roll-out.

Ally Features & Demos

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Ally supports accessibility in Canvas in a few exciting ways:

  1. When uploading content, Ally will scan the file and produce an accessibility score. This score is symbolized by a little gauge next to the document/image (on the Canvas page, the modules list, and in the Files list). The gauge will be red, yellow, or green depending on the score.
  2. When you click on the gauge you'll be walked through an explanation of the problem and guidance on fixing the problem.
  3. When you add a file to Canvas, Ally will produce alternative formats. To view/access those formats, you click on the little downward facing arrow next to the document.
  4. Currently, the following formats are available (depending on the file type):
    • Tagged PDF version
    • HTML version
    • ePub version
    • Electronic braille version
    • Audio
  5. Ally allows Canvas administrators to run institutional reports to monitor institution-wide accessibility improvement over time. This feature is planned to be offered to content creators at the course level in the near future.

One important thing to note is that Ally is still under development and more features are added frequently. One feature we're excited to see developed is the ability for Ally to scan and provide feedback on Canvas pages as you build them. We’re hoping to see this enabled at some point in 2018.

To follow Ally’s updates, you can join the Ally User Group:

Video: Ally Overview - a quick overview of how content creator can use Ally. Note: some features have been updated. (7 mins)

Video: Ally Student view - a quick overview of how students can take advantage of Ally. (2 mins)
Feel free to share with students!

Since students need to be made aware that Ally is available for providing alternative formats, we encourage you to include a note about it in your syllabus. Here’s sample language to consider/modify:

Ensuring that all students, including students with disabilities, have access to instructional materials is paramount to their success; therefore, all materials in this course have been reviewed and evaluated for accessibility. When possible, course materials are available in a digital format in Canvas, and students may download accessible versions of files via a tool called Ally. To learn more about accessing accessible versions of files, check out the short video Ally: Student View. In general, students using assistive technologies should be able to access all course materials; however, if you do encounter a barrier, please contact me/your instructor as soon as possible so that the problem can be remediated.

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Last Modified: 1/30/24, 3:56 PM

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