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Improve Accessibility of Blackboard Course Content with Ally

Build inclusive environment for all student learning styles

March 13, 2019 11:35 AM

To support UMBC’s ongoing commitment to a more inclusive campus, DoIT is pleased to introduce a new tool called Ally into Ultra courses to help improve the accessibility of course content in Blackboard.

Ally automatically scans course content and performs a series of steps to make that content more accessible. Faculty who use Ultra courses will notice color gauges next to course files. Click on the Ally indicator to read detailed feedback about what the accessibility issues are with the file, why they matter, and how to fix them. Ally will not change how anything works in an existing course, and it won’t affect any course files. These Ally indicators are not visible to students.

Improving the accessibility of your course content will not only help ensure students with different abilities can access your materials, but 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. Ally automatically generates alternative formats of your course files, and makes them available to you and your students. The alternative formats do not affect your original file, but they do 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.

Both Instructional Technology staff and the Office of Accessibility & Disability Services (ADS) staff have been trained to support Ally questions. ADS is also available to assist in document remediation and other accessibility questions. Finally, the Ally FAQ collection is available for reference.

As always, if you have any questions, please consider the following options:

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