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Blackboard Ally Basics

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Blackboard Ally works seamlessly with Blackboard Learn to check the accessibility of most course content and provides instructors guidance and tips for making lasting accessibility improvements.

Blackboard Ally

What does Ally do?

Ally automatically scans most attached files and content added using the Blackboard Content Editor (the WYSIWYG text editor) and takes these steps:
  • Generates multiple alternative formats students can use to access the content.
  • Provides accessibility scores to instructors.
  • Gives instructors feedback on how they can improve the accessibility scores of their content.
  • Generates a Course Accessibility Report which provides an overview of all accessibility issues in one place.

Alternative Formats


Ally automatically generates alternative versions for PDF, MS Word and PowerPoint, OpenOffice/LibreOffice and uploaded HTML files, and most content created in the Blackboard Content Editor. Students can choose the format that works best for them. For example, HTML for improved reading on mobile devices, electronic braille for those using a braille reader, audio for learning on the go - and more!

Note: The Alternative Formats generated are only as accessible as the original file posted by the instructor. To improve the accessibility of the Alternative Formats, instructors should use the feedback provided by Ally to improve the accessibility of the original file. Instructors and students will see the Alternative Format icons in the course content areas.

Download an alternative format

Instructor Feedback and Accessibility Scores

Ally checks most new and existing content for various accessibility issues and assigns it an accessibility score. Each score consists of a numerical percentage and a colored gauge that visually reflects that percentage. Instructors can use the accessibility score and the Instructor Feedback panel or the Course Accessibility Report to learn more about accessibility issues and view steps they can take to improve the score. Though we would like to be 100% accessible, this is a work in progress and improvement is what counts!Scores range from Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues.
The accessibility score icons and the instructor feedback panel are not visible to students. Move the mouse pointer over the 'gear' icon to see the accessibility score, then click the icon to open the Instructor Feedback panel for information and instructions for improving the accessibility of that item.

Note: Some guidance documentation is still in development in Ally. If an item is marked with the message "Guidance coming soon":

  • Search for additional information within the Instructor Feedback panel
  • Conduct a web search for more information
  • Contact the NDSU IT Help Desk





The Course Accessibility Report

The Course Accessibility Report displays "the big picture" and specific details about the accessibility of all course content from one place. 

The Overview tab groups content by type and by "easiest issues to fix" and "fix low scoring content" to help instructors decide which items to focus on first! The Content tab lists all of the content items with accessibility issues individually, the number of issues each content item has, and the 'gear' icon showing the accessibility score. Instructors can click each 'gear' icon to open the Instructor Feedback panel from the Accessibility Report.

To open the Course Accessibility Report, open a course in Blackboard > click Course Tools (below the Control Panel on the left) > Accessibility Report.

What do the accessibility scores mean?

Improve the content to raise the score

The Ally Community

Join the Ally User Group




Keywords:blackboard, black, board, bb, ally, blackboard ally, bb Ally, blackboard accessibility, blackbaord, baord, universal design, universal design for learning, UDL, digital accessibility, alternative formats, assistive, assistive technology, assistive devices, access, document remediation, accessibility standards, disability, disabilities, screen reader, accessibility indicators, accessibility indicator, gear icons, colored icons, alternative format icons, accessible course, accessibility score, accessibility report, accessibility checklist, HTML, ePub, audio, electronic braille, tagged pdf   Doc ID:107679
Owner:Sharley K.Group:IT Knowledge Base
Created:2020-12-08 13:00 CSTUpdated:2020-12-22 14:49 CST
Sites:IT Knowledge Base
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