IS&T is excited to introducing a new tool called Ally into all student and faculty Spring 2019 Blackboard courses to help improve the accessibility of course content. Ally does not change how anything works in a course and will not affect  course files.

Check it out for yourself! Here is a quick (56 second) video on how Ally for Blackboard works (YouTube link).

You will notice in your course red, orange, light green, and dark green gauges next to each of your course files.Accessibility Gauges

These are “Ally Indicators” and they let you know the accessibility of the file. The indicators are ONLY visible to instructors in the course. Your students will NOT be able to see them. Click the indicator to read detailed feedback about:

  1. What the accessibility issues are with the file
  2. Why they matter
  3. How to fix them

Improving the accessibility of  course content will not only help ensure students with disabilities can access online materials, it will also improve the learning experience for students who use mobile devices as well as those who want to engage with the material in a different way. For faculty, Ally automatically generates “alternative formats” of  course files and makes them available to students by clicking the dropdown icon next to the file name. The alternative formats do not affect the original file and allow students to access an HTML version for their phone, an ePub version for their tablet, an MP3 version for audio, and electronic braille for braille readers.

We encourage all Faculty to take the first steps in using Ally to improve the accessibility of  course content on Blackboard Learn, as well as encourage students to take advantage of the alternative formats. If you have questions or need help fixing an accessibility issue with one of your files, please consider one of the following options:

  • Attend a one hour Basic Accessibility Training (Word) course (space is limited – registration required). Learn what “accessibility” means and how it affects the digital world. We will use Word to discuss best digital accessibility practices.
  • Attend a one hour Advanced Accessibility Training (PDF) course – the Basic course is a prerequisite (space is limited – registration required). Learn how to make most PDF files accessible.
  • Visit the Chapman Ally Help Guide
  • Stop by during SMC’s walk-in help sessions in DeMille 100 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month

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