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Blackboard’s Ally To Be Activated On 1/7/19

“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.” — Blackboard

Gauges With Descriptions

This fall we pilot tested Blackboard Ally, a tool that assists faculty in increasing the content accessibility in their Blackboard courses, both online and face to face. To date, we have found the system helpful, informative, and relatively noninvasive.

We will be enabling Ally for all Spring 2019 courses in Blackboard on January 7. Once enabled, Ally will measure the accessibility of each file attached to your course and show you at a glance how it scores. Please see the score key below. Note this information is for your use only.

• Red gauge: Low (0-33%): Needs help! There are severe accessibility issues.

• Orange gauge: Medium (34-66%): A little better. The file is somewhat accessible and needs improvement.

• Light green gauge: High (67-99%): Almost there. The file is accessible but more improvements are possible.

• Dark green gauge: Perfect (100%): Perfect! Ally didn't identify any accessibility issues, but further improvements may still be possible.

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

Q. Why is this program being introduced?

A. The system is designed to help you provide students with content they can access, and any students who require ADA accommodations, with alternative formats. Alternative formats include Tagged PDF’s, HTML, ePub’s, Electronic Braille and MP3 audio files.

Q. What’s with these percentage scores?

A. The scores let you know how accessible the content is and whether or not they need attention. The higher the score the more accessible.

Q. Who can see the percentage scores?

A. Only the faculty member can see the scores.

Q. Will these scores be used against me during review, promotion and tenure?

A. NO! This software is specifically intended for you, as an instructor, to provide your students with quality content, and to assist in meeting ADA accommodations.

Q. Are we being mandated to comply with making the changes?

A. Although this is not mandated, we are encouraging faculty to start looking at their content to see what can be done. Providing students with alternative formats has the potential for increasing student engagement and learning.

ASIS will be planning Ally information sessions during the first few weeks of the Spring ’19 semester. Look for announcements in January.

For questions and assistance, please contact coursedesign@brockport.edu.

contact: coursedesign@brockport.edu
submitted: Thu, Dec 27, 2018 by jthompson
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