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Blackboard Ally is an Interact2 tool, available to academics. It provides a variety of ways to assist in making content more accessible to our students.
Blackboard Ally allows the university to gain good insight into how much of the content of subjects in Interact2 is accessible. It allows an easy system for teaching staff to improve the accessibility of items in subjects and allows staff to see across the university improvements made in this space. Once an institutional report is run, then teaching staff can fix various aspects of their subjects to improve the student experience with regard to accessibility.
You need to have edit rights in i2 (full staff, instructor) to be able to see the “Ally Indicators”.
As a teacher, you will notice in your subject red, orange, light green, and dark green gauges next to your subject files. Scores include Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues:
These are “Ally Indicators” and they let you know the accessibility of the file. The indicators are only visible to instructors in the subject. Simply select the indicator to read detailed feedback about what the accessibility issues are with the file, why they matter, and how to fix them. If you score a “red” low or “orange” medium score then you can do some work to fix and improve the accessibility of content for your students. Please remember that with the updated subject templates this may not display as ‘perfect’, but they are fully accessible. No changes are needed to them.
Ally automatically generates “alternative formats” of your subject files and makes them available to you and your students by selecting the dropdown icon next to the file name. The alternative formats don’t affect your original file and allow students to access an HTML version for their phone, an ePub version for their tablet, an MP3 version for audio, and electronic braille for braille readers.
The following resources are available to assist users of the Blackboard Ally:
ANZ EdTech Community of Practice – Accessibility guidelines and implementation support from the community. On the 25 May the ANZ EdTech CoP held a session focused on Accessibility.
Blackboard ALLY - Ally and Accessibility Instructor Workshop (held 07 July 22) recordings and slide deck:
An introductory workshop on using Blackboard Ally was run by Lachlan Kalache on 21 July: DLT Workshop: 202260 Teacher PD: Accessibility in i2
From 18 July 2022, you will be provided with automatic access to this tool in your i2 Subject site.