The University of Reading is committed to providing you with the best learning experience possible. With this in mind, we have activated the Blackboard Ally tool in your courses. The Ally Alternative Formats icon (an ‘A’ beside a downward facing arrow) will be visible next to content items or attached files in your courses.
Ally is an add-on to Blackboard, which makes digital course content more accessible to all students. You will be able to download your course content in the format that fits best with your learning needs or preferred ways of working. PDF, HTML, ePUB, audio files, BeeLine Reader, and Immersive Reader are now available as options for most content items.
Watch the short video guides below (40 secs & 2 mins respectively) to learn about alternative accessible content formats.
Ally File Transformer: Blackboard has made its “Ally File Transformer” tool currently available for free. You can use this tool to convert any files to an accessible format.
Step by step guide starts here:
Follow these three steps to download your course content in various alternative formats:
1. Find a file
Log into your course and find the file you want.
Click on the Alternative formats button to open the alternative format window.
3. Choose a format
Choose the format, or formats, that best suit your learning needs from the available list of alternative formats and click “Download”.
Immersive Reader has recently been added to the list of alternative formats available via Ally, it allows students to:
- Change font size and text spacing
- Change the contrast between the text and the background colour
- Learn spelling and grammar by splitting words into syllables
- Highlight verbs, nouns, adjectives, and sub-clauses
- View a picture dictionary
- Increase reading speed with line focus
- Convert text-to-speech (both male and female voices)
- Translate content in real-time
For more information see the Blackboard guide on Alternative Formats – Immersive Reader
BeeLine Reader makes reading on-screen easier, faster, and more enjoyable. It uses an eye-guiding colour gradient to ‘pull’ your eyes through long blocks of text. This helps you read more effectively and maintain your focus better. This new display format has been honoured by the United Nations and is used by readers in 120 countries around the world!
BeeLine Reader is a good option if
- You read a lot on screen and wish you could read more easily and quickly.
- You read on your commute and find reading in this environment difficult.
- You have a lot of material to read and find your eyes get tired.
- You read late at night, when your eyes are tired.
- You want to be able to read the content faster.
- You experience dyslexia, ADHD, or low vision.
- You have difficulty with visual tracking or focus.