Overview for Instructors
Ally automatically scans Blackboard course content and performs a series of steps to make them more accessible. Students can download alternate versions of the content.
- PDF files
- Microsoft® Word files
- Microsoft® PowerPoint® files
- OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
- Uploaded HTML files
- Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BPM, TIFF)
- The following items show only in the Accessibility Report
- WYSIWYG/VTBE content
- YouTubeTM videos embedded in WYSIWYG/VTBE content
Automatically Generated Alternative Formats
- OCR’d version (for scanned documents)
- Tagged PDF
- Mobile-friendly HTML
- ePub (for book readers)
- Electronic Braille
- BeeLine Reader
When you upload files to your Blackboard course, Ally automatically creates alternative formats of your course files for you—you do not need to do anything. These alternative formats are based on the original source file and made available along with the original file. Ally will also suggest improvements to make your content even more accessible.
Please note: The automatically-generated alternative formats created by Ally are more accessible versions of the original course file. It is critically important that your source file be as accessible as possible to ensure the alternative formats are as equally effective.
Low (0-33%): Needs help! There are severe accessibility issues.
Medium (34-66%): A little better. The file is somewhat accessible and needs improvement.
High (67-99%): Almost there. The file is accessible but more improvements are possible.
Perfect (100%): Perfect! Ally didn't identify any accessibility issues but further improvements may still be possible.
Improving Your Accessibility Score
Next to each attached file and image, Ally shows an instructor feedback indicator. Hover your mouse over the indicator to identify your accessibility score. The higher the score, the fewer the issues. (Please note: The indicators can only be seen on the instructor's page. Students never see these indicators.)
Select the indicator to view instructor feedback. This will list the issues and step-by-step guides on how to fix them.
Accessing Your Course Accessibility Report
Under Course Management, you can also go to Course Tools > Accessibility Report to see a full report of all scanned content in your course.
The report shows instructors this useful information:
- Overall accessibility score for the course
- Accessibility score for each scanned content item
- Distribution of course content by content type
- List of all issues identified in the course
You can also access instructor feedback from the report to fix the issue.
Next to all files with alternative formats available, students will see the Ally download alternative formats button. This is also accessible on the instructor's page.
For any file, you can disable alternative formats by opening the download menu, selecting the down arrow next to Download alternative formats, and selecting Disable alternative formats for this file.
To fully disable Ally for a course, under Course Management, go to Customization > Tool Availability. Scroll down to the line for Ally. Uncheck the box in the Available column. Select Submit to save.
If you later decide to enable Ally again, follow these same steps to check the box in the Available column.
The Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI) can assist faculty with making their course documents (i.e., Word, PPT, PDF) accessible to all students, especially those who use assistive technology applications (e.g. screen readers, text-to-speech aids, etc.).
To submit a request, do the following:
- Select the accessibility score indicator to view instructor feedback. Under the issue identified, select the How to fix… button.
- In the How to… window, select the Help button.
- Finally, follow the instructions to submit a request for assistance with making your course documents accessible.
Please Note: ATI Staff will not alter the instructor’s original document contents. ATI staff will, however, replace the original file with an accessible copy. An original copy of the document will be provided to the instructor upon completion of the request.
Captioning/Transcription, and Web/Software Accessibility Reviews
At this time, Ally does not offer an option for faculty members to submit requests for assistance with making audio/video accessible (i.e., captioning/transcription, audio description). To make your audio/video accessible and to have third-party websites/supplemental applications (e.g., Piazza) reviewed for accessibility, please submit a request on the ATI website.