Ally is a tool available across all Moodle modules to make all learning content more accessible to all students. Ally helps lecturers by merging into the existing workflow of Moodle by enabling these alternative formats automatically, as well as providing accessibility feedback and assistance on individual resources and overall modules to lecturers.
Ally provides immediate feedback on where accessibility challenges are in each resource and across modules. It makes it immediately clear where accessibility needs to be improved with step-by-step guidance on how to fix accessibility issues.
Benefits to our community:
All resources that are added to Moodle modules will automatically be assessed by Ally and receive an accessibility score viewable only to enrolled lecturers on the module. These accessibility scores are created by checking the resource against each of the requirements of UK legislation for web accessibility relevant to higher education and then also given a weight based on how much of an accessibility challenge an issue may pose to education.
The accessibility score assesses the way content is conveyed to students, not the quality of the content itself. For example, a low accessibility score for a resource may be because it is a scanned PDF of a photocopied book, not because the book itself or content therein is of pedagogical low quality.
These accessibility scores include:
Ally features a tool that converts files into alternative formats. These alternative formats are created automatically and do not require any extra actions from lecturers. They benefit all students by offering a choice of how to engage with resources, such as:
Students are able to choose from a range of alternative formats according to their preferences.
The tool can convert the following file formats:
The formats you can convert the above file formats into are:
You can read what our Student Digital Assistants thought of alternative formats in their Alternative Formats post on the Learning at City blog.
While digital accessibility encompasses a number of different aspects, some key ideas to improve the accessibility of Moodle resources include:
Read about Professor Rachael-Anne Knight's experience beginning to use Ally for her Moodle modules, and how she prepared for the academic year 2022-23.
No. Even if you have an accessibility solution created, Ally's score for the inaccessible resource will remain low.
Usually as images, requiring alt text to be accessible.
City has consulted with copyright specialists, and we understand that making copies in an alternative format using Ally is covered by what the law permits for educational purposes, or by what relevant licences permit. This might be desirable for ease of accessibility, for example. These copies should not be shared with anyone else; they are for personal use only.
If you have queries regarding copyright at City, University of London please contact the Copyright Librarian, Stephen Penton, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff might be worried about meeting a certain accessibility score on their modules.
Ally helpfully guides users on how to create more accessible content and learn how to remediate their resources. However, there are certain accessibility issues that it currently does not check for yet, or some accessibility issues may need a fix on a wider scale. This could be the case if your resource is produced using a template or it belongs to a 3rd party. Therefore, while it is a powerful tool, it should not be taken as the single source of truth for the accessibility of your course content. It may not be possible to have 100% accessibility score on some resources, but anything above 90% is excellent.
You may wish to flag to your students known accessibility issues you cannot remediate yet to manage expectations while you consider alternative solutions.