General Ally FAQs for Instructors


What languages are supported in Blackboard Ally?

Blackboard Ally is available in many different languages. Availability includes the Ally interface, as well as the alternative formats, including the audio format.

The audio alternative format is made available in a voice that reflects the language of the source document. It uses the most appropriate accent based on the location of the Ally deployment. For example, a user in North America would receive a North American English accent, a user in Europe would receive a British English accent and a user in Australia would receive an Australian English accent for an English document.

Blackboard Ally is available in these languages.

  • Catalan
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English, US
  • English, UK
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French, Canadian
  • German
  • Italian
  • Norwegian Bokmål
  • Norwegian Nynorsk
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Portuguese, Brazilian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Welsh

What Learning Management Systems is Ally available for?

Ally is currently available for these Learning Management Systems:

  • Blackboard Learn 9.1 (Q2 2017 CU3 release and above)
  • Blackboard Learn SaaS Original and Ultra Course View
  • Blackboard Open LMS
  • Instructure Canvas
  • Self-hosted Moodle (version 3.2 and above)

What browsers are supported?

Ally is supported on the same browser as the Learning Management System (LMS) it is accessed from.

  • Google Chrome™
  • Mozilla Firefox®
  • Microsoft Edge®
  • Internet Explorer®
  • Safari®

What happens when a course is copied? Does Ally go with the course copy?

Yes. When you copy a course, all alternative formats and instructor feedback will also be available in the new course.

There can be a delay before everything is moved over to the new course.

When you archive a course, only references to file accessibility are available. Ally is a cloud service and will store the alternative formats on the Ally servers, which means that these are not pushed back to the LMS. The alternative formats will not be stored inside of the course archive, but the reference from the course archive will continue to be available.

What are some examples of how accessibility can benefit all students?

In many cases, improving the accessibility of course content benefits all students, including those without a disability. Accessibility is often closely connected to the quality and usability of the course materials.

Example 1: Having a proper digital copy of a document instead of a scan makes the document more usable for all students. It might make the document easier to read, especially for low-quality scans, and it also allows students to search through the document and find specific content, copy and paste sections of the document, and so on.

Example 2: The Semantic HTML alternative format is fully responsive and mobile-friendly and makes it easier for all students to consume to content on their mobile device. The ePub alternative format makes it easy to change the visual display of a document and allows for annotations and highlighting to be added. The audio alternative format can be used during a commute, on a run, etc. The translated version alternative format can help second language students.

Example 3: Having a video with captioning or a transcript will make the video more usable for all students. It allows the student to search through the video and find specific parts, the video can still be watched in high-noise environment (for example, commuting), and so on.

Example 4: Having an image with a quality description can make the image more usable for all students. It can help clarify the content of the image and how it connects to the surrounding context, it makes the image searchable, and so on.

Example 5: Providing a good heading structure for a long document makes the document more usable for all students. It provides additional structure, which makes it easier to work through and process the content. It also allows for a Table of Contents to be generated, which can improve the navigability of the document.

Will Ally change my course appearance?

The only difference you'll see within your course is that Ally provides an accessibility score for your files. The score is shown by a gauge icon next to your course files. Select the gauge to view and improve your file accessibility.

What do students see?

Students see a menu to the left or right of each document. From this menu, they can select Alternative formats to access available versions they can download. Although they can download alternative formats of your files, it is best to improve the documents through the instructor feedback.

More on Ally for student

What happens to my original files?

Blackboard does not discard the original version of the document. Your original file is retained within the Blackboard system and can be retrieved if necessary.

Hva med servere for lokal distribuering?

Ally-distribueringer utenfor Nord-Amerika bruker nå også servere utenfor USA for tredjepartstjenester Ally trenger. Det betyr at lokale distribueringer ikke bruker servere i USA for noen Ally-funksjonalitet.

Hvor kan jeg finne forpliktelsene for tjenestenivå for Blackboard Ally?

Dokumentet for forpliktelser for tjenestenivå for Blackboard Ally (bare tilgjengelig på engelsk)

Har Blackboard Ally en fast tidsplan for utgivelser?

Vi bruker en sann SaaS-tilnærmelse (Software as a Service) for Ally og sender ofte nye utgivelser til produksjonsmiljøet. Det finnes for øyeblikket ingen fast tidsplan for utgivelser, men det kommer i snitt en versjon hver 1–2 uker. Disse utgivelsene sammenfaller vanligvis ikke med Learn SaaS-oppdateringer.

Det eneste unntaket fra denne tilnærmingen med kontinuerlige utgivelser er ved endringer som i stor grad er brukerorientert. I slike tilfeller sier vi fra en måned før vi gjør utgivelsene tilgjengelige i produksjonsmiljøet.

Som følge av denne prosessen for kontinuerlige utgivelser er det ikke mulig å gi tilgang til tidlige versjoner av utgivelser i test-/oppsamlingsmiljøer.

Ally Accessibility Checklist FAQs

Accessibility checklist

What content does Ally check?

What content does Ally check?

Currently, Ally checks files in these formats:

  • PDF files
  • Microsoft® Word files
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint® files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files
  • Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BPM, TIFF)
  • YouTubeTM Videos
  • WYSIWYG/VTBE content

    Instructors don't see accessibility scores for WYSIWYG content in their courses. The results for WYSIWYG content only appear in the Institution Report.

What accessibility issues does Ally check for?

Ally’s accessibility checklist is based on WCAG 2.1 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). This is an international accessibility standard, and most of the legislation and legal requirements worldwide aligns with this standard.

Additionally, Ally also adds a number of additional checks on top of this that start to target the usability and quality of the course materials a bit more.

What does Ally do with content it can’t check?

Ally includes content it can’t check for accessibility issues, such as ZIP archive and XML file, under “Other” in the institutional report. This content does not receive an accessibility score, does not contribute to the institution’s accessibility score and does not have an indicator or option to download alternative formats in the User Interface.

More on the institution report for admins

What is a contrast check?

Contrast checks verify whether there is sufficient contrast between the text color and its background color. Text with poor contrast can be difficult to read for everyone, but especially for students with visual impairments such as color blindness.

Ally uses the contrast requirements specified as part of the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines.

Use the Colour Contrast Analyser from The Paciello Group any time to check your content.

Ally Content Editor (WYSIWYG) Content

LMS content editor (WYSIWYG) content

Currently, instructors don't see an accessibility score for content created in their system content editor.

Ally also checks these content types created through the system content WYSIWYG editor for accessibility issues.

The data is appears in the Institutional Report as HTML. It appears in the CSV export as application column headings.

  • Blackboard Learn
    • Content Folder(application/x-folder)
    • Content Item (application/x-item)
    • Learning Module (application/x-learning-module)
    • Lesson Plan (application/x-lesson)
    • A link to a Forum (application/x-link-discussion-topic)
    • Web Link (application/x-link-web)
    • Embedded LTI application (application/x-lti-launch)
    • All other WYSIWYG content types including Blank page and Module page (application/x-page)
  • Moodle and Blackboard Open LMS
    • Assignment (application/x-assignment)
    • Book (application/x-book)
    • Book chapter (application/x-book-chapter)
    • Discussion topics (application/x-discussion-topic)
    • Forum description (application/x-forum)
    • Glossary description (application/x-glossary)
    • Glossary entry (application/x-glossary-entry)
    • Label (application/x-label)
    • Lesson description (application/x-lesson-description)
    • Lesson page (application/x-lesson-page)
    • Page content (application/x-page-content)
    • Page introduction (application/x-page-intro)
    • Section (application/x-section)
    • Syllabus (application/x-syllabus)
  • Canvas
    • Announcement (application/x-announcement)
    • Assignment (application/x-assignment)
    • Discussion Topics (application/x-discussion-topic)
    • Quiz description (application/x-quiz)
    • Syllabus (application/x-syllabus)
    • All other WYSIWYG content types including Page (application/x-page)

Sjekkliste for tilgjengelighet

Du finner hele sjekklisten for tilgjengelighet under Ally-sjekkliste for tilgjengelighet

Ally for Blackboard Learn

Hvilke Blackboard Learn-versjoner har støtte for Ally?

Blackboard Ally støttes i Learn 9.1 Q2 2017 CU3 og nyere. Den er også tilgjengelig for Learn SaaS i både Original- og Ultra-emnevisningen.

Solaris som er lagret på egne servere, støttes ikke.

Kan du gi vurdering til innhold i Mitt innhold i Blackboard Learn før innholdet brukes i et emne?

Ally vurderer bare innhold som brukes i emner. Ubrukt innhold kan forvrenge institusjonsrapporten og inkluderes ikke.

Du kan laste opp innhold til en skjult mappe i et emne hvis underviserne vil komme med tilgjengelighetsoppdateringer før de gjør innholdet tilgjengelig.

Skanner Ally alt innhold i Mitt innhold?

For øyeblikket skanner Ally bare elementer som er lagt ved i selve emnet. Det betyr at rapporteringen bare inkluderer elementer studenten har tilgang til. Ubrukt innhold inkluderes ikke.

Ally for Blackboard Open LMS og Moodle:

Hvilke versjoner av Moodle på egne tjenere er Ally tilgjengelig for?

Ally er tilgjengelig for Moodle-versjon 3.2.5, 3.3.2 og 3.4 og alle nyere versjoner når den er lagret på egne tjenere. Ally fungerer muligens med andre temaer, men for øyeblikket støttes de følgende temaene:

  • Clean
  • More
  • Boost
  • Snap

Moodle har ikke støtte for semestre. Hva betyr dette for institusjonsrapporten?

Det er mulig for institusjonen å følge med på utviklingen av den gjennomsnittlige tilgjengeligheten etter måned og skoleår i institusjonsrapporten i Blackboard Open LMS. Den inneholder bare ikke noe «Etter semester»-alternativ.

Ally for Instructure Canvas

Hvorfor må Ally administrere innstillinger på kontonivå for Instructure Canvas?

Tillatelsen «Manage account-level settings» er nødvendig for at Ally skal kunne hente inn listen over tilgjengelige semestre, som brukes for å generere institusjonsrapporten.

Alternative Format FAQs

Alternative formats

What alternative formats does Ally generate?

Ally provides alternative formats for these file types:

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

These alternative formats can be generated:

  • OCR’d version (for scanned documents)
  • Tagged PDF (currently for Word, Powerpoint and OpenOffice/LibreOffice files)
  • Mobile-friendly HTML
  • Audio
  • ePub
  • Electronic Braille
  • Translated Version

    Translated Version is disabled by default. Administrators can submit a support case to have it enabled. To learn more, see Translated Version alternative format.

More on alternative formats

Are alternate formats generated when a request to download is made?

When a particular alternative format for a particular content item is requested for the first time, Ally generates this on demand. In most cases, this completes within 1-2 minutes.

As soon as it has been generated, the alternative format is downloaded. Ally then also caches the result, so any additional requests for the same alternative format can be served and downloaded from cache immediately.

Does Ally generate alternative formats for student content?

Ally currently only processes instructional content. For example, content added by someone with edit permissions in the course, such as the instructor or instructional designer. Ally currently does not process student content or student submissions.

What format is the OCR’d alternative format?

The OCR’d version is made available as a tagged PDF.

What format is the Audio alternative format?

The audio alternative format is made available as a downloadable MP3 file. We also add some of the extracted semantic information into the speech, which adds additional structure to the audio and makes it easier to follow.

Which Braille code does Ally use for the Electronic Braille Format?

Ally uses Braille Ready File (.brf) as the electronic Braille format. The braille code used depends on the language the document is in. For English documents, Ally uses Grade 2 Unified English Braille (contracted).

More on Unified English Braille on the UKAAF website

Can the Ally Electronic Braille Format be printed using a Braille printer?

The Braille Ready File (.brf) format can be used for both electronic braille displays and braille embossers (printers).

You still need to check whether a specific Braille embosser/printer supports the .brf format.

More on BRF on the Accessible Instructional Materials website

Why do I see "The alternative formats for this file have been disabled"?

Instructor and administrators can turn off alternative formats for an individual content item within a course. For example, on a file uploaded to the course.

Alternative Format Instructor FAQs

What does the instructor need to do to generate alternative formats for a content item?

Nothing. Ally automatically picks up on any existing or new materials, runs it through the accessibility checklist, and makes the alternative formats available to both the student and the instructor.

Is there a file size limit?

No, there is no file size limit. There may be cases where the algorithm fails to generate alternative formats for certain large files, but Ally doesn’t enforce a maximum file size.

How does Ally handle password protected content?

Ally detects password-protected content, gives them a 0% accessibility score and provides guidance to help remove the password through the instructor feedback. Ally does not generate any alternative formats for password protected content, as we can’t get access to the actual content.

Can I disable alternative formats?

Yes. You can turn off alternative formats for individual content items, if you want. If you change your mind, you can enable it again later.

Hvor lagres de alternative formatene? Tar dette opp lagringsplass?

De alternative formatene lagres hos Ally og sendes ikke tilbake til læringsplattformen. Derfor fører ikke de alternative formatene til at det brukes noe av lagringskvoter eller den lokale lagringsplassen.

Hva med opphavsrett og forbud mot å lage avledede verk?

  • Alternative formater er bare og alltid tilgjengelige med originalfilen.
  • Studenter må melde seg på et emne for å få alternative formater. Hvis et emne er gjort offentlig, gjør ikke Ally alternative formater tilgjengelig for anonyme brukere. 
  • Ally tilbyr ikke alternative formater for dokumenter med metadata som sier at det ikke kan genereres avledede verk av dokumentene. Ally skanner bare dokumentet for å se etter tilgjengelighetsproblemer og inkluderer slike data i rapporten og tilbakemeldingen fra underviseren.

Hvorfor ser jeg ikke den oversatte versjonen som et tilgjengelig alternativt format?

Dette må være slått på for institusjonen din. Send en henvendelse til Behind the Blackboard for å få slått det på. 

På hvilke språk er den oversatte versjonen tilgjengelig som alternativt format?

Den oversatte versjonen er for øyeblikket tilgjengelig på disse språkene:

  • Afrikaans
  • Arabisk
  • Bosnisk – kyrillisk
  • Bosnisk – latinsk
  • Bulgarsk
  • Kantonesisk – tradisjonell
  • Katalansk
  • Kinesisk – forenklet
  • Kinesisk – tradisjonell
  • Kroatisk
  • Tsjekkisk
  • Dansk
  • Nederlandsk
  • Engelsk
  • Estlandsk
  • Finsk
  • Fransk
  • Tysk
  • Gresk, moderne
  • Haitisk
  • Hebraisk
  • Hindi
  • Ungarsk
  • Indonesisk
  • Italiensk
  • Japansk
  • Koreansk
  • Latvisk
  • Litauisk
  • Malayisk
  • Maltesisk
  • Norsk Bokmål
  • Persisk (farsi)
  • Polsk
  • Portugisisk
  • Rumensk
  • Russisk
  • Serbisk – kyrillisk
  • Serbisk – latinsk
  • Slovakisk
  • Slovensk
  • Spansk
  • Swahili
  • Svensk
  • Thai
  • Tyrkisk
  • Ukrainsk
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamesisk
  • Walisisk

Instructor Feedback FAQs

Instructor feedback

How do I see all issues?

Select All issues to see every issue in the file. This view shows you by how much the score can improve by fixing each issue. Find the issue you want to start fixing and select Fix.

What threshold is used for the color of the accessibility indicator?

We provide every document with an accessibility score, which is a percentage score that is supposed to reflect how accessible an item is, how many students it can affect, how severely it affects them, etc. To calculate the accessibility score for a document, we take a weighted average of the different accessibility rules/checks, as some rules are more important/impactful than others.

Within the User Interface, we use thresholds for determining the color of the indicator.

Accessibility is very much a spectrum where further improvements are always possible, so it’s hard to provide a point at which the item becomes “accessible”. However, as a rule of thumb, once an item is in the green zone it should be doing reasonably well.

What content types are in-browser previews available for?

In-browser previews are currently available for these files:

  • Images
  • PDF Documents
  • Word Documents
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files (Writer and Impress)

These previews are then used to identify where in the document specific accessibility issues can be found. Highlights are currently provided for these issues:

  • Images without an appropriate alternative description
  • Text fragments with insufficient contrast
  • Tables without table headings

The instructor feedback for other accessibility issues will just show the content preview without highlights.

More on previews


Hvor ofte genereres institusjonsrapporten?

Institusjonsrapporten oppdateres hele tiden, så den er i utgangspunktet alltid oppdatert. Det kan likevel forekomme små forsinkelser mellom når innholdselementer legges til, og når rapportene for semestre/skoleår/måned oppdateres.

Kan jeg eksportere dataene fra institusjonsrapporten?

Ja, data fra institusjonsrapporten i Ally kan eksporteres i CSV-format. Denne dataeksporten inneholder fire separate CSV-filer:

  • Oversiktsdata etter skoleår
  • Oversiktsdata etter semester
  • Oversiktsdata etter måned
  • Liste over alle emner

Det finnes også en CSV-eksport for enkeltemner. Denne dataeksporten inneholder en liste over alle innholdselementer i det aktuelle emnet samt de ulike tilgjengelighetsproblemene som er identifisert i de forskjellige innholdselementene.

Mer om CSV-eksporter

Hvordan videreføres tilgjengelighetsresultatene til emne- og institusjonsnivået?

Ally tilordner hvert innholdselement et tilgjengelighetsresultat. Dette videreføres til emnenivået, og hvert emne får et tilgjengelighetsresultat – som er gjennomsnittet for alle elementene i det aktuelle emnet. Dette videreføres også til institusjonsnivået, og det beregnes et tilgjengelighetsresultat for hver måned, hvert semester eller hvert år. Dette resultatet er gjennomsnittet for alle innholdselementet i den aktuelle perioden.

Inneholder rapporten innholselementer og emner som allerede var på læringsplattformen?

Ja. Når Ally-integreringen aktiveres, behandler Ally alle historiske emner og innholdselementer. Det kan ta flere dager å utføre denne prosessen, men resultatet blir en institusjonsrapport som inneholder alle historiske data og gir en mye bedre oversikt over trender og utviklinger.

Spesifikke emner eller semestre kan utelates fra denne prosessen hvis institusjonen ønsker det.

Hvordan gir jeg personer som ikke er LMS-administratorer, tilgang til institusjonsrapporten?

Som standard er institusjonsrapporten tilgjengelig for alle LMS-administratorer i arbeidsområdet for administratorer på læringsplattformen (LMS).

Men vi kan også andre som ikke er LMS-administratorer (for eksempel avdelinger for støtte til funksjonshemmede), tilgang til institusjonsrapporten. For å oppnå dette kan vi gi institusjonen en nettadresse for direktetilgang samt påloggingsinformasjon som kan deles med de som skal ha tilgang til rapporten.