Using Ally in Blackboard
In 2018, Blackboard will be using a new accessibility tool called “Ally.” Ally is a tool that focuses on making new and existing content more accessible in Blackboard. Once your campus deploys Ally in its LMS, instructors will begin to see new icons on their content items. Here is quick rundown on what Ally is, how to use it, and what the icons mean.
What is Ally?
Ally is an accessibility tool that automatically runs course materials through an accessibility checklist using a sophisticated algorithm. One of its functions is to generate alternative formats of course content that can work better with assistive technologies and methods such as screen readers, Braille, audio programs, ePub, and html.
Who benefits from Ally? Why is it being implemented?
Ally’s primary goal is to assist students who have disabilities/accessibility issues in a course, but can help all students. Course content with high accessibility ratings and alternate formats helps users who use assistive technologies (tools like screen readers, assistive listening devices). View this link to find information about SUNY and accessibility: http://www.suny.edu/accessibility/
Ally can provide an institution-wide analysis of content accessibility. Please contact your campus instructional designer for assistance with questions about campus policies regarding accessibility.
About Ally accessibility ratings
You will notice new icons next to compatible content in Blackboard – the gaslight icon. The gaslight icon tells you how accessible your content is.
This is the item’s accessibility score. Clicking on the icon gives you a list of reasons for the score. The suggestions for making the content more accessible are listed in order of importance, meaning the item that affects the score the most will be listed at the top. Expand each suggestion to learn how to change you content. When you apply the fixes, the score will change.
For more information about making content more accessible, please visit:
Compatible content includes .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .png, and more.
How to view alternative formats?
Instructors and students can view alternative formats by clicking on the chevron next to the item and selecting ‘alternative formats.’ The following alternative formats can be downloaded from Blackboard:
- HTML for viewing in browsers and on mobile devices
- ePub for e-book readers and mobile devices such as tablets and 2-in-1s
- Electronic braille for electronic braille methods
- Audio for listening
Click on the correct format and select ‘download.’
Useful Accessibility Resources:
Blackboard has expanded its help.blackboard.com site to include detailed information on Ally:
- Main Ally Site for Ally: https://help.blackboard.com/Ally
- FAQs for Ally: https://help.blackboard.com/Ally/Instructor/FAQs
Ally User Group
- There is a dedicated User Group on Ally that can be found here: https://usergroup.ally.ac/dashboard
If you need further assistance or have additional questions please contact:
Open SUNY Support Services HelpDesk
1-800-875-6269 | firstname.lastname@example.org