Create accessible content: getting started with Blackboard ALLY

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What is Blackboard ALLY?

Your class is full of diverse students with unique learning abilities. Providing them with more accessible original content means they can choose formats that work best for them: HTML for improved reading on mobile phones, Electronic Braille for the visually impaired, and Audio for learning on the go. Ally automatically scans your original content, and performs a series of steps to make them more accessible.

  • Generate alternative formats for students to download
  • Provide accessibility scores for you as an Instructor
  • Give Instructor feedback on how to improve your accessibility score

>> Read more about Accessibility and Inclusive Practice

Accessibility score indicators for Instructors

Ally measures the accessibility of each file attached to your course and shows you at-a-glance how it scores. Scores range from Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues that Ally can find.

File is not very accessible and there are lots of issues that can be fixed.

File is somewhat accessible and could be improved.

File is accessible but could be improved.

Very High:
No more issues have been detected in this file.

For files with Low to High scores, Ally shows you the issues and gives a step-by-step guide on how to fix them.

Find a file and select the Accessibility score. Follow the steps in front of you to go step-by-step. Select All issues to see every issue in the file and decide what issues to fix first.

Select All issues if you want to see how much each fix will improve the accessibility of the file.

>> More on accessibility scores

Instructor feedback

Ally provides you detailed feedback and support to help you become an accessibility pro. Learn about accessibility issues, why they matter, and how to fix them. Green is the goal!

Click on the Accessibility score icon to open the instructor feedback for that content item.

Follow the steps in front of you to go step-by-step. Select All issues to see every issue in the file and decide what issues to fix first.
Image showing the Accessability gauge clicked on and the Instructor feedback sidepanel open.

Course Accessibility Report

You can also see a summary of  accessibility issues for all content on a specific course – and start to fix those issues – from the Course Accessibility Report.

Alternative formats for Students

Ally creates alternative formats of your course files based on the original. These formats are made available with the original file so students can find everything in one convenient location.

You don’t need to do anything. The alternative formats are created for you.

Select Alternative formats to see the different formats now available to your students.

Ally alternative format icon and opening the alternative format menu

>> More on alternative formats for students


What if I don’t want to generate alternative formats?

If the file you’ve uploaded’s use is restricted by copyright, or you simply don’t want students to be able to generate alternative versions of it, you can turn Ally off for that individual file.

To do this, access the Alternative formats screen and click on the drop-down at the top of the window and choose – Disable alternative formats for this file.

The alternative format select screen and the option to disable them at the top.

If the file you’ve uploaded is a PDF and you find that you cannot access alternative formats for it, it’s likely one of these meta-tags have been set to “Not Allowed”:

  • Content Copying
  • Content Copying for Accessibility

Where to get help with Ally

Help with creating accessible materials

Create accessible content: Microsoft

Create accessible content: Adobe PDFs

Create accessible content: Images


>> Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Email with your question