Ally for Canvas

Blackboard Ally is a tool that seamlessly integrates with Canvas to provide insight into your courses' accessibility.

About 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
  • Give feedback on how to improve your accessibility score

Alternative Formats

Alternative formats provide greater opportunity for everyone to access the information they need in the way they need or want it. With alternative formats all students can meet the same learning objectives using resources that are built to target the needs of the individual student. Ally automatically generates these “Alternative Formats” for all your course files, and makes them available for download to you and your students. Your original file will not be affected by the alternative formats.

To view the available alternative formats, select the "A" symbol next to the file name.

Alternative Formats A symbol

Download Alternative Formats Options

Available formats include:

  • Audio (original file up to 100,00 characters)
  • Electronic braille
  • ePub
  • Semantic HTML (available offline on your mobile device if you don't close your browser)
  • OCR PDF (The conversion is only as good as the quality of the original file. If the file is difficult to analyze, there may be mistakes.)
  • Tagged PDF
  • Translated Version (Not widely available; 50 languages are in the trial stage)

Please Note:  You might not see every alternative format in your list of choices to download. The formats generated depend on the original file uploaded.

Accessibility Scores

Ally checks accessibility for your new and existing course content. To measure accessibility, Ally assigns your content an accessibility score. Each score is composed of both a numerical number and a colored gauge that reflects the number.

Currently, Ally checks files in these formats:

  • PDF files
  • Microsoft® Word files
  • Microsoft® Powerpoint® files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files

Accessibility scores are determined by the severity of issues in each file. A low score indicates the file has severe or multiple accessibility issues; a high score means there are minor or no accessibility issues. For accessibility scores less than 100 percent, Ally gives you suggestions for improving the accessibility of the file.

Accessibility Indicators

Your course files and content will now have color “dials” next to them. They indicate the file’s level of accessibility, and are there to help you prioritize which files you want to fix first. Don’t worry, your students can’t see them. If you hover over the indicators, you’ll see if the accessibility score is “low,” “medium,” or “high.” Click the indicator to see the percentage score, specific issues affecting the file, and instructions for improving the file.

Scores range from Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues.

  • red ally symbol  Low (0-33%): Needs help! There are severe accessibility issues. Indicator is red.
  • Orange ally symbol   Medium (34-66%): A little better. The file is somewhat accessible and needs improvement. Indicator is orange.
  • Green ally symbol  High (67-99%): Almost there. The file is accessible but more improvements are possible. Indicator is light green.
  • Green ally symbol  Perfect (100%): Perfect! Ally didn't identify any accessibility issues but further improvements may still be possible. Indicator is dark green.

Improve Your Score with Feedback

Once you know the accessibility score, you can begin to explore the accessibility issues and improve your content to raise the score. Accessible documents are important for all audiences, and Ally gives you the tools to understand common issues and improve your course files.

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

Step-by-step guide

  1. Find a content item and select the Accessibility Score indicator to view the instructor feedback panel.
    final exam gauge image
  2. Check the overall score for the document.
    accessibility score gauge
  3. Select All Issues to view the list of accessibility issues within the document.
    All issues info button
  4. Go through each item and review to learn how to resolve each issue. (If there is only one issue, there will be no All issues button)
    PDF issues example list

  5. Once you have fixed all of the issues, return to the instructor feedback panel (Step 1) and upload the new version of your document.
    Upload box example
  6. You will see an updated accessibility score, and any further issues Ally detects will be listed on the panel.

Accessibility Report

The course Accessibility Report shows the overall course accessibility score, the distribution of course content by content type and the list of all issues that have been identified in the course. You can then easily see which content items in your course have been flagged with an issue. If you do not see this option on your left-hand menu, you'll need to activate it through Settings > Navigation > Accessibility Report > Enable > Save.

Accessibility Report Navigation

The report also provides some help with prioritization, and will show different options such “Content that’s easiest to fix” and “Content with the lowest score” depending on the content in the course. Instructor feedback can be triggered for each item, which should make working through the remediation of multiple items quite a bit faster.

The course Accessibility Report also provides a list of all the content that can be found in the course, including the ability to sort by severity, issue name, number of issues identified and accessibility score.

Accessibility Report Overview

Please Note:  You will need to use the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser to access the course Accessibility Report. The Mac Safari browser is not supported for this feature.

For more information on Blackboard Ally, see the resources below or contact the Center for Innovation and Technology (CITE) at 


For additional information please refer to the following resources:


Article ID: 124940
Wed 1/20/21 3:36 PM
Mon 1/25/21 10:13 AM