Blackboard Ally for Canvas

About Blackboard Ally For Canvas

Blackboard Ally for Canvas, typically referred to as just Ally or Ally for Canvas, is an accessibility tool that is integrated into Canvas. Ally does a few things:

  • Generates alternative file formats for files uploaded to Canvas, which can be downloaded by instructors and students
  • Checks files uploaded to Canvas and provides an accessibility score to instructors
  • Provides additional information and step-by-step instructions for how to fix identified accessibility issues
  • Generates a course-level report for instructors to get an overall view of their document accessibility in each Canvas course

Ally for Canvas is used by both students and instructors to download alternative formats of files in their Canvas courses. This is used not only by users with documented disabilities, but is also used for a variety of other purposes (e.g. those who want to listen to files, or those who have a slow internet connection).

Instructors use Ally as an informational tool to help improve their awareness of file accessibility and as an instructional tool to help resolve accessibility issues. Instructors typically use Ally during the semester to check accessibility of their files and take action to make improvements.

Students

There's nothing you'll need to do to get started with Ally; it's already available in all of your Canvas courses! Check out our Getting Started Guide for information on how you can use Ally.

Instructors

Ally is available in every course in Canvas, so there's nothing you need to do to turn it on. You'll notice small colored gauges next to files in your Canvas course, which show you a quick accessibility score for each file. Click on the colored gauge next to a file to launch Ally. Once Ally opens, you'll get a detailed accessibility score, information about any issues impacting your file, and guidance for how to resolve each issue. There's also a course-level report that can be turned on in each Canvas course.

It's important to note that Ally only checks files uploaded to your Canvas course, which may be embedded in the following areas of your Canvas course: Modules, Files, Pages, Announcements, or Discussions. Ally does not check the written content that you type into Canvas's Rich Content Editor, such as Announcement messages, actual posts in the Discussions area, or anything typed into Pages. To check the accessibility of these, use Canvas's accessibility checker

Ally should be used as an informational tool and isn't intended to force changes, so explore Ally's feedback and use it as a learning opportunity for future documents. Ally offers fantastic explanations and step-by-step guidance for basic accessibility issues, but if you need more information, you might find the Digital Accessibility website handy.

If you do decided to tackle your documents and make them more accessible using Ally's feedback, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Take your time and work on one document at a time. TLT recommends working on courses to be taught in the future, so you're not setting impractical deadlines for yourself.