Blackboard Ally is coming to Moodle at the start the academic year!
Blackboard Ally is a software that that will be available across all Moodle modules to make all learning content more accessible to all students. Blackboard 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.
All resources that are added to Moodle modules will automatically be assessed by Blackboard 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 (WACAG) 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:
While digital accessibility encompasses a number of different aspects, some key ideas to improve the accessibility of Moodle resources include:
Q: My content consists of mathematical PDFs. I provide HTML alternatives using Markdown - is there a way to tell Ally that I know the PDF has issues but I have already produced my own alternative?
A: No. Even if you have an accessibility solution created, Blackboard Ally's score for the inaccessible resource will remain low.
Q: How does Blackboard Ally assess the accessibility of infographics?
A: Usually as images, requiring alt-text to be accessible.
Q: Are there copyright implications to Blackboard Ally creating alternative formats of resources that students can download?
“You can only download an alternative format if at least one of the following is true:
Blackboard Ally automatically processes all files added to a Moodle module and creates alternative formats for students to view the materials in. These alternative formats are created automatically by Blackboard Ally, and do not require any extra actions from lecturers. Lecturers can disable any alternative format options for a particular resource using the "edit" function.
The first time a particular alternative format is selected for a resource, it may take a few minutes to be ready, but will subsequently be ready automatically. Students can choose from a range of alternative formats according to their preferences: