Ally

Your instructor probably has many different files uploaded in Blackboard in your course. Ally creates alternative formats for those files. You can download the alternative formats anywhere that files are used. Just choose the version that is best for your needs!

  1. Find a file: Log into your course and find the file you want.
  2. Open the file menu: Select the menu to the right of the file name (it looks like a capital “A” and a down arrow).
    screenshot of filenames in Blackboard highlighting the Ally icon
  3. Choose a format: Don’t stick to just one format! Use as many formats as you want.
    screenshot of alternative formats available with AllyAlly Quick Start for Students

What are the different formats and how can I use them?

Audio

The audio alternative reads aloud the text in the original file. This also includes alternative descriptions for images, if they are provided. The audio format is saved as an MP3. MP3s are compressed, high-quality sound files that can be played on any computer or mobile device.

Why would you want an Audio version of a document?

  • You prefer to listen than read.
  • You’re an auditory learner.
  • You want to read and listen to the content at the same time.
  • You have a lot of material to study and find your eyes get tired.
  • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.
  • You don’t want to, or can’t, carry print materials for any length of time.
  • You have a visual impairment.
  • You want to adjust the speed of the audio.

Most players allow you to adjust playback speed. For example, Windows Media player, VIC, Audacity, and iTunes.


ePub

The ePub alternative creates a digital publishing file that can be viewed on our mobile devices. ePub files are reflowable. This means that the content displayed automatically adapts to the device it is viewed on.

Why would you want an ePub version of a document?

ePub is powerful. With it, readers can take notes, highlight content, adjust text and background, and in some cases use text-to-speech.

Maybe these sound like you. If so, ePub is a good option.

  • You want to adjust font size and background color.
  • You want to highlight content, take notes, and bookmark important pages.
  • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
  • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.

Semantic HTML

What is Semantic HTML? Tags and elements—such as blockquote, paragraph, and headings—are added to add meaning to a page. It aids screen reader users with good content structure. Semantic HTML is viewed in a browser and adapts to the device you are viewing it on.

Semantic HTML is ideal when the content has complex layouts.

Why would you want a Semantic HTML version of a document?

  • You want to adjust font size and background color.
  • You want to highlight content, take notes, and bookmark important pages.
  • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
  • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You use a screen reader.

OCR PDF

OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. The OCR PDF alternatives are created when the original file is PDF of an image. OCR technology analyses the document and converts the image into searchable text.

Why would you want an OCR PDF version of a document?

  • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
  • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.
  • You use a screen reader.

Tagged PDF

A Tagged PDF alternative uses tags and elements—such as blockquote, paragraph, and headings—to add meaning to a page. It aids screen reader users with good content structure.

Why would you want a Tagged PDF version of a document?

  • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
  • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.
  • You use a screen reader.

Electronic Braille

The electronic braille alternative creates a BRF file that can be read on a refreshable Braille display (RBD), other Braille reading devices, or within a Braille software like Duxbury.

Think of a Refreshable Braille Display (RBD) as a monitor-less computer. Most RBDs can connect to internet, create documents, access calendar, and a lot of the basic functionality a computer provides. RBDs be a standalone device. They can also be connected to a smartphone, iPad, or laptop. Most RBDs are limited to reading one line of Braille at a time.

Why would you want an Electronic Braille version of a document?

  • You have a visual impairment.
  • You are familiar with braille.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You want to read and listen to the content at the same time.

Learn more about alternative formats