Blackboard Ally and Canvas


As part of its continuing commitment to accessibility and inclusion, Endicott is piloting Blackboard (Bb) Ally starting in the SP19 semester. Bb Ally is a Canvas plug-in tool that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze a variety of content types against the Web Content Accessibility (WCAG)  2.0 AA Standard for web accessibility. It then provides a comprehensive report, assigns the content an accessibility score and suggests ways in which the content can be made more accessible. In other words, it scans uploaded Canvas files, provides an accessibility score and the reasons for that score, and shows you how to remediate it.

Why make your course content accessible?

  • Accessibility ensures that all students can access all course materials and use them as needed.
  • Adhering to the principles of Universal Design for Learning makes for a better learning experience for all students.
  • Legally, Endicott is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Web Content Accessibility (WCAG)  2.0 AA Standards) to make all its web content, both internal and external, fully accessible so that everyone is able to access and use these materials as required to fulfill their employment responsibilities and/or pursue their academic studies regardless of any visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, or neurological disabilities.

Why Bb Ally?

  • Seamless integration with Canvas
  • Easy to use, intuitive interface
  • Works with multiple file types and alternative formats
  • Provides institutional reporting

What you need to know about the integration:

Bb Ally is very easy to use and can analyze Word documents, image files, pdfs, HTML, ePublications and others. Students can choose to download one of the supported file types in a variety of alternative formats, depending on their learning styles, needs and preferences, including tagged pdf, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, audio “readings”of text and translations (50 different languages).

If you’re interested in trying Bb Ally-Next Steps

  • Watch the recordings of the two 90 minute Instructor training sessions, held on Thurs and Fri, Feb 7, 8. The links are below.
  • Click on the Instructor Learning Resources link to access online training and support materials.

Instructor Learning Resources

Online Training-Part 1 Agenda

  • Accessibility and Universal Design
  • Benefits of Universal Design
  • WCAG 2.0 AA Standards
  • Introducing Ally Alternative Formats and Instructor Feedback
  • Supported Document Types
  • Student and Instructor View of Alternative Formats
  • Instructor Feedback Indicators
  • Using feedback indicators to remediate images and sample Word document
  • Ally User Group

Video recording of Instructor training- Part 1

Online Training-Part 2 Agenda
Creating More Accessible Files

    • Identifying Accessibility Issues
    • Semantic Accessibility Issues
    • Remediating Text Documents
      • Headings
      • Table formatting
      • Ordered lists
      • Image alt text
    • Accessible Links
    • Contrast
      • Web-based analyzers
      • Downloadable analyzers
    • Remediating PDFs
      • Encryption or password protection
    • Remediating Presentations
    • Microsoft Accessibility Checkers
    • PDF Accessibility Checker
  • Ally User Group

Video recording of Instructor training, Part 2 

Student Learning Resources

  • Bb Ally creates alternative files that are easier to use by all students.
  • Alternative files include readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy to navigate content.
  • Ally works within your Canvas course so it’s available right where you need it.
  • Ally creates multiple alternatives from the original documents in your course. You can download these alternative formats anywhere that files are used.
  • File types include: tagged pdf, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, audio and translations (50 different languages).