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Ally 1.63.0 | Release to production 19 November 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, D2L integration

Ally 1.63.0 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed an issue in Blackboard Learn where custom system administrator roles could not access course files through the institutional report.
  • Fixed an issue in D2L Brightspace where the WYSIWYG editor would automatically toggle into full-screen mode.
Bug Fixes, Blackboard Learn Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.62.9 | Release to production 11 November 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, Canvas integration, D2L integration, Moodle integration

Ally 1.62.9 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed an issue where an error was shown when attempting to download usage data from the institutional report in Canvas.
  • Fixed an issue in the WYSIWYG Learn editor that resulted in a decrease of performance when LaTeX characters were entered.
  • Resolved an issue in Learn that resulted in Alternative Formats not being available from instructor view for folders and items with conditional release rules.
  • Improved navigation and layout of table elements in the course report for individuals using assistive technology.
Bug Fixes, Canvas Integration, Integrations, Blackboard Learn Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.62.8 | Release to production 4 November 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, Canvas integration, D2L integration, Moodle integration

Ally 1.62.8 bug fixes and improvements

  • Improved performance and language support for audio (MP3) alternative formats.
  • Improved navigation and layout of course report elements for people who use assistive technology.
Bug Fixes, Blackboard Learn Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Canvas Integration, Moodle Integration, Updated Features

Ally 1.62.7 | Release to production 21 October 2021

Updated features, Canvas integration, Learn integration, D2L integration, Moodle integration

Ally 1.62.7 bug fixes and improvements

  • Added a back button that closes guidance when viewing instructor feedback.
  • Fixed an issue in Canvas where alternative formats were not loading properly when an instructor used the Canvas Student View.
  • Improved error messaging during LTI 1.3 setup.
  • Minor improvements to better support Arabic braille tables.
  • Minor visual adjustments in instructor feedback workflows to improve spacing of content and buttons for non-English languages.
  • Improved navigation of tabular data elements for screen readers in the institution report.
Bug Fixes, Canvas Integration, Blackboard Learn Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Moodle Integration, Integrations

Ally 1.62.6 | Release to production 14 October 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, Canvas integration, D2L integration, Moodle integration

Ally 1.62.6 bug fixes and improvements

  • Improved alternative format file name to more closely match original name in the course.
  • Fixed an issue where alternative format downloads in the Blackboard mobile app were not properly functioning.
  • Fixed an issue in the institutional usage report where the date selector was not properly displaying available date ranges.
  • Fixed an issue where occasionally removing the image description from a .gif would not save correctly.
  • Fixed an issue in Canvas where tablets in alternative formats were not properly being converted.
  • Resolved an issue where filenames with non-alpha numeric characters were not properly being processed.
Bug Fixes, Canvas Integration, Integrations, Blackboard Learn Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.62.4 | Release to production 30 September 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, Canvas integration, D2L integration

LTI v1.3 Support

Institutions are now able to integrate Ally into their LMS using LTI: v1.3. While no material changes will occur to Ally's functionality - LTI: v1.3. offers an improved security model based on OAuth2, OpenID Connect, and JSON Web Tokens.

Ally will continue to support LTI: v1.1 for the foreseeable future in order to provide institutions time to plan their migration to LTI: v1.3.

For additional information and configuration steps please see documentation for Blackboard Learn, Canvas, and D2L.

Moodle support is planned for a future release.

Canvas Developer Keys

Canvas Developer Keys provide an alternative integration method to the existing access token approach that offers more granular control over the scope and permissions granted to the Ally integration.

More information on Canvas Developer Keys.

Ally 1.62.4 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug where images were not properly being added to the ePub alternative format for HTML pages in D2L.
Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, Canvas Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Bug Fixes

Ally 1.62.2 | Release to production 22 September 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, Canvas integration

Ally 1.62.2 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved data quality for usage reports, available in the Institution Report for administrators.

    This improvement modifies the selectable days in the interface to provide data ending in the 1-2 days previous from the current day, based on your country/region.

  • Improved academic year titles for institutions whose academic term starts in January and ends in the same year. For example, if an academic term starts on January 1st 2021 and ends the same year, the title will now show: "2021".

  • Fixed an issue in Blackboard Learn and Canvas where tool-tips were not being properly displayed.

  • Fixed an issue in Canvas when generating MP3 audio alternative formats.

Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.61.9 | Release to production 17 September 2021

Updated features, Learn integration, Canvas integration, D2L integration, Moodle integration

Course accessibility report in Safari

  • As a follow-up to the Ally 1.44 | Release to production 15 May 2020, we've now updated the Ally institutional report and configuration UI LTI tools to no longer rely on 3rd party cookies. Now, all Ally tools should load correctly in Safari.

This update also applies to other web browsers that have implemented or plan to phase out 3rd party cookie support.  

Ally 1.61.9 bug fixes & improvements

  • Minor improvement in Learn to course-copy synching with Ally for image descriptions.
Updated Features, Bug Fixes, Blackboard Learn Integration, Canvas Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.61.7 | Release to production 9 September 2021

Canvas integration, Updated features

Ally 1.61.7 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed an issue in Canvas where deleted quizzes were not properly being displayed in the course accessibility report.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.61.3 | Release to production 20 August 2021

Blackboard Learn integration, Canvas integration, D2L Brightspace integration, Moodle integration, Updated features

Ally 1.61.3 bug fixes & improvements

  • Added Irish (ga-IE) language support for the user interface.
Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Moodle Integration, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.61.0 | Release to production 5 August 2021

Blackboard Learn integration, Canvas integration, Updated features

Ally 1.61.0 bug fixes & improvements

  • Resolved an issue in Blackboard Learn where some users were presented with the error "Oops! This file couldn't be overwritten as there may be a wrong configuration." when uploading a new to file when fixing an issue.
  • Updated checking and scoring for images related to a recently resolved Canvas issue where decorative images were incorrectly marked.
Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.60.3 | Release to production 30 June 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.60.3 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved readability and navigation usability on the course accessibility report.
Updated Features

Ally 1.60.2 | Release to production 23 June 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.60.2 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed an issue where navigation buttons were not placed properly for right to left languages.
Updated Features

Ally 1.60, 1.60.1 | Release to production 17 June 2021

D2L Brightspace, Moodle, Updated features

Ally 1.60, 1.60.1 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed an issue in Moodle that resulted in unused course files being incorporated in the overall accessibility score. Administrators will need to enable this option by checking the "Exclude unused files" that can be found by navigating to Site Admin > Plugins > Ally.

    Applies to Moodle with the 3.10.3 Ally Plugin.

  • Fixed an issue in D2L Brightspace where an error was presented when attempting to download alternative formats.
Updated Features, Moodle Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.59.9 | Release to production 10 June 2021

D2L Brightspace, Updated features

Ally 1.59.9 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed an issue related to text and icon placement for right to left languages on the course accessibility report.
  • Fixed an issue in the institution usage report that incorrectly displayed an error when an appropriate date range was selected.
  • Fixed an accessibility issue where the download control in a PDF preview was missing the appropriate button tag.
  • Resolved an issue in D2L Brightspace where image previews were missing in instructor feedback.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.59.8 | Release to production 3 June 2021

Canvas, Updated features

Ally 1.59.8 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved translation and layout placement for right to left languages.
  • Fixed an issue in Canvas where alternative formats for files in an assignment were only visible after viewing the instructions.
  • Fixed an issue where image previews in the feature configuration were rotated incorrectly on Safari.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.59.7 | Release to production 26 May 2021

D2L Brightspace, Updated features

Ally 1.59.7 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed an accessibility issue related to minimum color contrast ratio for links when an alternative format HTML file was generated.
  • Fixed an issue in D2L Brightspace where spaces in image file names were creating errors when generating alternative formats for rich content.
  • Improvements to processing time for generating translated alternative formats.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.59.2 | Release to production 30 April 2021

D2L Brightspace, Updated features

Unique user download data is now available in the Usage Report

Ally administrators are now able view the total number of unique users downloading alternative formats. This is also available when viewing by week.

Ally 1.59.2 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improves support for custom org units in D2L Brightspace.
Updated Features

Ally 1.59.1 | Release to production 22 April 2021

D2L Brightspace, Updated features

Ally 1.59.1 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug where the Ally alternative format icon was missing in some descriptions for modules and sub-modules.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.59 | Release to production 15 April 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.59 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug where in some cases OCRed Alternative formats were downloading with random characters included in the document text.
  • Fixed an issue with Arabic text incorrectly wrapping within the Instructor Feedback panel.
  • Fixed a bug where in some cases the links added to the text in the custom Instructor Feedback Help panel were not showing as hyperlinks.
Updated Features

Ally 1.58 | Release to production 1 April 2021

Updated features, D2L Brightspace

Ally 1.58 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved the Translated Version alternative format to include the word "translated" in the downloaded filename to distinguish between the Translated Version alternative format and the HTML alternative format. For example, downloading the Spanish Translated Version for a file named Van Gogh.docx will result in Van Gogh - Translated - es.html.
  • Fixed a bug in D2L Brightspace where in some cases temporary modules that were used to create an Alternative Format for WYSIWYG content were not removed once that process finished.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.57 | Release to production 24 March 2021

New features, Updated features, Instructure Canvas

Course Accessibility Report data is now available in the Usage Report

Ally administrators are now able view usage data for the Course Accessibility Report as part of the Usage Report. Within the Instructor Feedback Launches and Instructor Feedback Weekly data tabs, admins can see how many times the Course Accessibility Report has been launched along with the Instructor Feedback launch and total number of fixes data to better track overall engagement.

Departmental report is now searchable

Admins are now able to search through the list of departments available on the Directory tab within the Institutional report to facilitate faster searching and reporting when looking for specific departments.

Ally 1.57 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved our ElasticSearch infrastructure to implement data encryption-at-rest as well as allow for the ability to search the Ally Configuration Courses tab for Course IDs containing more than 10 characters.
  • Improved lists and headings detection within Arabic documents to improve the overall quality of the Alternative Formats.
  • Added support for the new Canvas file preview functionality to address an issue where the Ally indicators overlapped with the new Canvas icon.
  • Fixed an accessibility bug that prevented keyboard navigation to the Remove from Image button when editing and removing alternative text from an image in the Instructor Feedback.
New Features, Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.56 | Release to production 16 March 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.56 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug in Canvas integrations where selecting the preview link within the Ally alternative formats menu didn't open the file preview.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.55.3 | Release to production 11 March 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.55.3 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug within Canvas integrations where the Ally alternative format and score indicators were not consistently shown correctly next to files that are linked within a Canvas page.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.55.2 | Release to production 4 March 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.55.2 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved the Department score CSV export released in Ally 1.55 to limit the CSV export to the specified department when exporting from the department level.
  • Fixed a bug in Canvas where in some cases users were unable to click to launch the Alternative Formats modal from the Canvas files preview.
  • Fixed an accessibility issue to update the headings markup used within the Course Accessibility Report to allow for proper navigation when using a screen reader.
  • Fixed an accessibility issue to improve the color contrast ratio of the Terms of Use text within the Alternative Formats modal window.
  • Fixed a bug where the filename was not aligned properly within the Alternative Formats modal window when downloading formats for right-to-left language documents.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.55.1 | Release to production 25 February 2021

New features, Updated features

Ally in Hebrew

As part of our continued efforts to support universal design and equitable access around the world, Ally 1.55.1 makes the Ally User Interface available in Hebrew. There is now Hebrew support to the Ally institutional report, configuration UI, alternative formats modal, instructor feedback and course accessibility report, including full right-to-left support for all of these.

The Ally alternative formats are not yet available in Hebrew. This will be made available in a future release.

Ally 1.55.1 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug where in some cases when default help is enabled, clicking the help link within the Alternative Formats window also submitted the form.
  • Fixed a bug where files containing lists were not rendered properly in ePub or Beeline alternative formats for right-to-left language documents.
New Features, Updated Features

Ally 1.55 | Release to production 18 February 2021

New features, Updated features

Department score data now available in the CSV export

As part of the Ally 1.55 release, department score data is now available when you export a CSV from the Institutional report. LMS administrators can use the CSV export to easily compare across departments by accessibility score, amount of content, number of courses. and accessibility issues. When downloading and opening the CSV export zip package, you will now see a departments_months, departments_terms and departments_years CSV file available to analyze progress by department over time.

Ally 1.55 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved the ePub alternative format to make ePub titles more consistent by using the title from the original file or the filename of the original file when a title is not available.
  • Improved the handling and communication of failures that occur when uploading updated content back through the Instructor Feedback panel.
New Features, Updated Features

Ally 1.54.3 | Release to production 11 February 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.54.3 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved the labeling of form fields within the Request Help function of the Alternative Formats window.
  • Fixed a bug where Ally's accessibility check for headings did not account for non-breaking spaces within the document.
Updated Features

Ally 1.54.2 | Release to production 4 February 2021

Updated features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.54.2 bug fixes & improvements

  • Improved the Ally alternative format download icon applied within D2L Brightspace's New Content Experience. Now there's a more consistent look and feel with other areas of the course.
  • Fixed an accessibility issue where zooming in on the Instructor Feedback panel or using a device with a small display resolution (of 600 px or less) causes the header and footer to hide the content being displayed to the user.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.54.1 | Release to production 28 January 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.54.1 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug where Ally would incorrectly flag a contrast issue in certain PDF files with Type3 fonts.
Updated Features

Ally 1.54 | Release to production 21 January 2021

Updated features

Audio improvements for WYSIWYG alternative formats

Ally 1.50.2 introduced the ability to pickup on the appropriate text language from the WYSIWYG content area when downloading the Audio alternative format. This latest release allows Ally to pick up on the content title for a rich content item to provide additional context when downloading and listening to an Audio version.

Updated Features

Ally 1.53 | Release to production 13 January 2021

Updated features

Ally 1.53 bug fixes & improvements

  • Fixed a bug where in some cases Ally's Alternative Formats icons were not correctly aligned to the file within the Learn Original course view
  • Fixed an accessibility bug to add appropriate button roles to buttons in the Alternative Formats dialog
Updated Features

Ally 1.52 | Release to production 4 December 2020

Updated features

Translated Version Alternative Format Improvements

The Translated Version alternative format machine translation has been updated behind the scenes to provide a few key improvements.  The content will now be downloaded as HTML format for added ease of use.  This release also adds support for the following additional languages within the Translated Version alternative format drop down menu: 

  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Bengali
  • Dari
  • French (Canada)
  • Georgian
  • Gujarati
  • Hausa
  • Icelandic
  • Kannada
  • Kazakh
  • Macedonian
  • Malayalam
  • Mongolian
  • Pashto
  • Sinhala
  • Somali
  • Spanish (Mexico)
  • Tagalog
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Uzbek

Support for the following languages within the Translated Version alternative format is not available:

  • Bosnian (Cyrillic)
  • Serbian (Cyrillic)

Ally 1.52 bug fixes and improvements

  • Improved the information available within the client help emails in the D2L Brightspace integration to now include the display name and email of the user requesting help.  Note that this requires additional permissions to be granted to the Ally service user within Brightspace.  These permissions include:

    • Users
      • View the Users' Email Address (Organization)
      • See the User Management Tool (Organization)
    • User Information Privacy
      • See First Names (Organization)
      • See Last Names (Organization)
      • See Email Addresses (Organization)
  • Fixed an issue within the D2L Brightspace integration that caused the Institutional report launch for a specific D2L Department to no longer work correctly
  • Added a warning displayed to an instructor/editor user when trying to upload a file that is too large or multiple files at one time when using the Instructor Feedback panel.
  • Fixed an issue where decorative images were not being passed through correctly to Ally within Learn Ultra.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration, Blackboard Learn Integration

Ally 1.51.1 | Release to production 13 November 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.51.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented a solution to address a D2L authentication token issue that prevented Ally indicators from showing in BrightSpace courses. 
Updated Features

Ally 1.51 | Release to production 6 November 2020

New features, Updated features

WYSIWYG Alternative Formats for Ultra documents

Ally alternative formats are now also available for Ultra documents for instructors and students within the Ultra Course View. This follows the release of WYSIWYG alternative formats for Blackboard Learn Original and Instructure Canvas as part of the Ally 1.48 release, and D2L Brightspace as part of the Ally 1.49 release.

Ally Alternative Formats for Attachments in the Blackboard App

As part of the Blackboard App 5.8 release, students can now view and download alternative formats for attachments in content items in Original courses to further expand on the current Ally capabilities in the mobile app.

Updated Features, New Features, Blackboard Learn Integration

Ally 1.50.3 | Release to production 28 October 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.50.3 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented a solution to address cases where mismatching content types within Canvas course imports (noted in Ally 1.50.2) continued to prevent Ally Alternative Format generation for certain files after a successful course import.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.50.2 | Release to production 21 October 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.50.2 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented an improvement to the WYSIWYG Alternative Formats to recognize the appropriate language when downloading the Audio alternative format.
  • Implemented a solution to address a known Canvas issue where mismatching content types were being communicated for certain Canvas course imports that prevented Ally from being able to pick up on content.
  • Fixed a bug where occasionally the instructor feedback panel and PDF preview would show unnecessary scroll bars.
  • Fixed a bug where occasionally the text within the instructor feedback panel did not display as right to left for Arabic help text.
  • Fixed a bug where certain files with dark backgrounds that also contain form x objects were incorrectly captured as white backgrounds.
  • Fixed a bug in Moodle where sometimes reordering items caused issues with displaying the Ally accessibility score indicator.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.50.1 | Release to production 13 October 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.50.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented improvements to the Help email templates for D2L Brightspace to avoid using time sensitive links for file download URLs.
  • Fixed a bug in the departmental report where drilling into an issue for an academic year for a specific department sometimes resulted in courses being listed that did not belong to the department.
  • Fixed a bug where in some cases the HTML alternative format would replace valid initials within bibliography lists with automatic alphabetical lettering upon conversion.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.49.2 | Release to production 29 September 2020

Updated features, Blackboard Learn integration

Ally 1.49.2 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented improvements to Ally’s alternative formats to support PDFs /ActualText property for referenced marked content.

    This is in addition to already supported /ActualText properties of tags.

  • Fixed a bug where Ally’s Alternative format indicator was not appearing for students on certain items with a description in Learning Modules within Blackboard Learn.
  • Fixed a bug where in some cases French letters with accents were not converted properly in the ePub, Audio file and BeeLine alternative formats.
Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration

Ally 1.49.1 | Release to production 25 September 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.49.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented improvements to the individual course report CSV exports to show if individual files have issues. Previously, some columns were displaying score results. This update provides further consistency with the other report CSV exports provided by Ally.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the alternative formats indicator not to show for certain Learn WYSIWYG content areas.
Updated Features

Ally 1.49 | Release to production 6 September 2020

New features, Updated features, Blackboard Learn Original, Instructure Canvas, Moodle, D2L Brightspace

Departmental reporting

Next to the reporting provided at the institutional level and the individual course level, Ally 1.49 now introduces the ability to view reporting based on the configured institutional hierarchy. This features makes it significantly easier to understand how different parts of the institution are performing around accessibility, can help better determine where to target efforts, and starts to provide insight for departmental administrators. We think this feature will be especially useful for large institutions and institutions sharing an LMS instance.

The provided reporting is based on:

  • Blackboard Learn: Configured institutional hierarchy
  • Instructure Canvas: Configured sub-account structure
  • Moodle: Configured categories
  • D2L Brightspace: Configured “Department” organizational units

The departmental reporting can be accessed through a new Directory tab in the institutional report. Global administrators will see the list of all top level nodes, and can continue to drill down into the hierarchy or view a more detailed report for each node. This more detailed report is similar to what can be found in the institutional report, but the data, CSV export and usage reports are all narrowed down to the selected node.

Departmental or node administrators will only be able to see the report for the node they can manage, and will be able to view the report for any sub-nodes they can manage as well.

The “Directory” tab will not display if no institutional hierarchy is configured in the LMS.

Arabic alternative formats

With the Ally 1.42 release, the Ally user interface became available in Arabic, including full right-to-left layout support.

Ally 1.49 introduces support for the Ally alternative formats in Arabic as well. This includes availability in Arabic of the Tagged PDF, semantic HTML, Audio, Electronic Braille and BeeLine Reader alternative formats, as well as right-to-left layout support for the machine learning algorithms that drive the generation of these alternative formats.

Read the press release

WYSIWYG alternative formats for D2L Brightspace

Following the release of WYSIWYG alternative formats for Blackboard Learn Original and Instructure Canvas as part of the Ally 1.48 release, WYSIWYG alternative formats are now also available for D2L Brightspace courses.

Ally 1.49 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the usage reports to be empty.
  • Fixed a bug in the conversion of complex tables (e.g., table cell that spans multiple columns) in the different alternative formats.
  • Implemented several improvements to the accessibility checklist for HTML files and web pages.
  • Implemented several improvements to the checking of larger and more complex Word and PowerPoint documents.
  • Improved the Moodle integration to process content in copied courses more quickly.
  • Fixed a bug that caused marking an image as decorative through the instructor feedback to fail.
  • Fixed a bug that occasionally caused Tagged PDFs containing lots of large images to be flagged as a scanned document.
  • Implemented data encryption at rest for AWS S3 storage.
  • Implemented several translation improvements to the Brazilian Portuguese translation.
New Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, Canvas Integration, Moodle Integration, D2L Brightspace Integration, Updated Features

Ally 1.48 | Release to production 19 August 2020

New features, Updated features, Blackboard Learn Original, Instructure Canvas

WYSIWYG alternative formats

Ally is now able to generate alternative formats for content created through the LMS content editor (WYSIWYG content). The available alternative formats for this WYSIWYG content include ePub, Audio, Electronic Braille, BeeLine Reader and the Translated Version.

This means that Ally is now able to provide alternative formats for both WYSIWYG content and uploaded files (PDF documents, Word documents, PowerPoint documents, etc.), providing good coverage of the types of content that can be found in the LMS. Given the exponential growth in alternative format usage observed in the last year, we’re excited to provide students with additional choice and flexibility in how they engage with their course content.

To access the alternative formats for a WYSIWYG content item, the alternative format icon next to the item can be selected. For WYSIWYG content items that also include uploaded files, students are provided a choice between accessing the alternative formats for the WYSIWYG item and accessing the alternative formats for the embedded files.

This feature is currently only available for Blackboard Learn Original and Instructure Canvas. Because of dependencies on new LMS APIs and functionality, this feature will be introduced for Blackboard Learn Ultra, D2L Brightspace and Moodle courses as part of a future Ally release.

Ally 1.48 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug in the audio alternative format that occasionally caused HTML characters to be read out as part of the audio.
  • Fixed a bug in the accessibility checklist that prevented PDFs produced using LaTeX Beamer from being scored.
  • Improved the Moodle integration to better handle content with a negative creation time.
New Features, Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, Moodle Integration, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.47 | Release to production 10 August 2020

Updated features

Blackboard Learn institutional hierarchy

The Blackboard Learn integration has been expanded to include the institutional hierarchy information for a course under the Department id and Department name columns in the courses.csv CSV export in the institutional report. This institutional hierarchy information is based on the institutional hierarchy configured within Blackboard Learn.

This work enables the calculation of the Ally score for each department in the institutional hierarchy through a tool like Excel, and serves as part of the foundational work to support the upcoming native reporting by institutional hierarchy in the institutional report.

This features requires Blackboard Learn 3800.13.0, and is therefore currently only available for institutions using Blackboard Learn SaaS.

Ally 1.47 bug fixes and improvements

  • Improved the feedback and guidance for documents containing tables with missing table headings
  • Fixed a bug in the Canvas integration that prevented the alternative formats modal from opening correctly in Modules
  • Fixed an accessibility bug in the tabs in the Course Accessibility Report
Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.46.2 | Release to production 9 July 2020

D2L Brightspace integration, Updated features

Ally 1.46.2 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug in the D2L Brightspace integration that occasionally caused content items to not be correctly marked as deleted due to a change in the Brightspace REST API response. All affected content items have now been reprocessed and should be correctly listed as deleted
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.46.1 | Release to production 2 July 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.46.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the instructor feedback from being launched by admins from the institutional report for courses that have the instructor feedback disabled for instructors
  • Implemented several improvements for the rendering of Word and PowerPoint documents as part of the instructor feedback
Updated Features

Ally 1.46 | Release to production 22 June 2020

EesySoft integration, Moodle integration, Updated features

EesySoft integration

We’re excited to expand our integration with EesySoft, a popular tool that integrates into the Learning Management System. EesySoft can be used to create campaigns to communicate with users, guide them through tasks in the LMS, and view the impact on behavior and tool adoption.
 
EesySoft already captured clicks on the alternative format icons and the accessibility indicators, and included this in the Eesysoft reports and campaigns. Now, institutions with an EesySoft license can allow more  detailed monitoring of interactions in the alternative formats modal, the instructor feedback, and the course accessibility report. Institutions can use this data for adoption reports and campaigns within EesySoft.
 
The EesySoft integration is disabled by default, and can be enabled in the Ally Configuration UI. Note that this integration requires an EesySoft license.

Moodle institutional hierarchy

We expanded the Moodle integration to include the institutional hierarchy information for a course. You’ll find additional information in the institutional report under the Department id and Department name columns in the courses.csv CSV export. This institutional hierarchy information is based on the “categories” that have been configured within Moodle.
 
Now, administrators can calculate an Ally score for each department in the institutional hierarchy with a tool like Excel. This is the first step to support native reporting by institutional hierarchy in the institutional report in the future.
 
Note that this feature requires the additional `moodle/category:viewhiddencategories` permission for the Ally API user. This permission is granted automatically in the latest version of the Ally Moodle plugins.

Image contains text not in the description

Previously, Ally required that text it detected in an image was part of the image’s alternative description. Because not all text in an image is required in the description and because OCR text detection isn’t 100% accurate, Ally 1.46 removes this check from the accessibility score. In a future release, the extracted text will become a description suggestion.

The removal of this accessibility check applies to all new and updated images, and will retroactively be applied to existing images over the next few weeks.

Ally 1.46 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the incorrect image to be highlighted when showing a document containing images without a description in the instructor feedback.
Updated Features, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.44.2 | Release to production 4 June 2020

D2L Brightspace integration, Moodle integration, Updated features

Ally 1.44.2 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that caused the Library Reference fields to be empty when attempting to edit an existing Library Reference
  • Implemented improvements in the D2L Brightspace integration to reduce the number of LMS API calls made to adhere to Brightspace’s new API rate limiting
  • Improved the workflow for editing an image description through the Ally instructor feedback
  • Fixed a bug in the Moodle integration that prevented Book Chapters from being removed from the Ally reporting when deleting a Book
  • Prevent Ally from processing .dwg (from drawing) files
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.44.1 | Release to production 1 June 2020

Canvas integration, D2L Brightspace integration, New features, Updated features

Audio alternative format

The audio alternative format is now available in Arabic and Icelandic. The voice for the Turkish audio alternative format has also been replaced with a higher quality alternative.

D2L Brightspace course templates

Ally is now able to check the content in Brightspace course templates for accessibility issues and provide alternative formats for them. This allows for the accessibility of course templates to be improved before they are used to create new course offerings.

Ally 1.44.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • The YouTube caption check has been improved to reflect the full set of permutations provided by the YouTube API
  • Fixed a bug in the Canvas integration that caused the “Disable alternative formats” option for a content item to not be available when the instructor feedback was disabled for the course
Updated Features, New Features, D2L Brightspace Integration, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.44 | Release to production 15 May 2020

Canvas integration, Moodle integration, Updated features

Course accessibility report in Safari

Due to the 3rd party cookie blocking policy recently introduced by the Safari browser, Ally LTI tools wouldn’t load in Safari unless 3rd party cookies are explicitly allowed in the browser settings.

More information about how these browser changes affect LTI tools on these sites:

Full third party cookie blocking and more

LTI frames and cookies oh my

The course accessibility report LTI tool has been updated to no longer rely on these cookies, and should now always load correctly in Safari.

More on the course accessibility report LTI tool

This improvement doesn't yet apply to the Ally institutional report and configuration UI LTI tools. These will be updated in a future release.

Ally 1.44 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug in the Canvas integration that prevented the alternative formats modal from loading when selecting Alternative Formats in a Canvas content preview.
  • Fixed a bug in the Moodle integration that caused too much content to be pulled through the Moodle API when re-synchronizing a course.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the incorrect tab to be selected when returning to the Courses tab in the institutional report.
  • Fixed a bug in the instructor feedback that caused an error when selecting the I need to keep it button for a seizure inducing animation.
Updated Features, Canvas Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.43 | Release to production 6 May 2020

New features, Blackboard Learn integration

Blackboard App integration

We’re excited to announce that the Blackboard Ally alternative formats can now be accessed directly from the Blackboard App. Many of the alternative formats provided by Ally such as the responsive HTML version, the Tagged PDF version, the ePub version and the Audio version are particularly relevant for use on mobile devices, and we were already seeing a large percentage of alternative formats accessed through mobile devices. With the addition of the alternative formats in the Blackboard App, we believe this will further increase use of the alternative formats in mobile contexts.

This integration requires the latest version (version 5.3) of the Blackboard App on iOS and Android.

More on Ally in the Blackboard app

New Features, Blackboard Learn Integration

Ally 1.42.1 | Release to production 1 May 2020

Updated features, Moodle integration

HTML Block support

The Ally for Moodle integration has been expanded to provide support for the “HTML Block” plugin. Content created through this plugin will now also be checked for accessibility issues by Ally, and the results will be included in the institutional report and the course accessibility report. Alternative formats and instructor feedback will be provided for file content linked from the HTML block as well.

The HTML block support requires the latest version of the Ally Moodle plugins that correspond with your version of Moodle.

Ally 1.42.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Added the institution name to the file name for the institutional report CSV export and the usage report export
  • Added a more meaningful error message when an audio alternative format can’t be generated because the original document is longer than 100,000 characters 
  • The usage report export is now supported on older versions of Excel as well 
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Features tab in the Ally Configuration UI to not be internationalized correctly
  • Fixed a bug in the Accessibility Score overview graph in the institutional report that caused time periods without any associated data to show as a 0% score 
  • Implemented improvements to reduce the number of LMS API calls made when a sudden spike in LMS activity takes place
Moodle Integration, Updated Features

Ally 1.42 | Release to production 23 April 2020

New Features, Updated features

Ally in Arabic

As part of our efforts to support universal design and equitable access around the world, Ally 1.42 makes the Ally User Interface available in Arabic. There is now Arabic support to the Ally institutional report, configuration UI, alternative formats modal, instructor feedback and course accessibility report, including full right-to-left support for all of these.

Note that the Ally alternative formats are not yet available in Arabic. This is the team’s next priority, and will be made available in a future release.

Ally 1.42 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug in the instructor feedback that caused the Help link to overlap with the instructor feedback guidance
  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause files smaller than 50MB uploaded through the instructor feedback to fail
New Features, Updated Features

Ally 1.41.1 | Release to production 17 April 2020

New Features, Updated features

CSV export

The “courses.csv” file that is part of the institutional report CSV export now contains a new Ally enabled column. This column shows TRUE when the instructor feedback and alternative formats are enabled for a course, and shows FALSE when the instructor feedback and alternative formats are disabled for a course.

More on the CSV export

Ally 1.41.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Improved the instructor feedback to better handle the uploading of a content type that’s different from the original content type.
  • Improved the wording of the success and failure messages that are shown when uploading a new content item through the instructor feedback.
  • Fixed a bug in the institutional report that caused the comparison between the current time period and the previous time period to be incorrect.
  • Fixed a bug in the Moodle integration that occasionally prevented the seizure protection for images flagged as seizure inducing from rendering correctly.
  • Fixed a validation bug in the date picker for the Usage Reports.
  • The Ally for D2L Brightspace and Ally for Canvas integrations have been improved to require less REST API calls when synchronizing a course.
New Features, Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration, Canvas Integration, Moodle Integration

Ally 1.41 | Release to production 6 April 2020

New Features, Updated features

PDFs without title

A full new feedback flow for instructors and editors has been added for PDFs that don’t have a title. This flow contains documentation on what this means, why this is important, and detailed step-by-step guidance on how to add a PDF title.

Generate tagged PDFs

The feedback guidance for instructors and editors on how to generate a tagged PDF from a Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint document has been updated to reflect the latest changes in Microsoft Office 365. Several screenshots to help visualize the different steps have been added as well.

BeeLine Reader night mode

The BeeLine Reader alternative format has been extended to offer an additional “Night Mode” view with a corresponding color gradient. This night mode can help reduce eye strain in low light conditions, can reduce screen glare while outside and can help save energy for mobile devices.

Ally 1.41 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that would cause the instructor feedback Print View to occasionally be empty.
  • Improved the speed at which alternative formats are generated.
New Features, Updated Features

Ally 1.40 | Release to production 27 March 2020

New Features, Updated features

BeeLine Reader alternative format

The BeeLine Reader alternative format is aimed at making on-screen reading faster and easier. To achieve this, it uses an eye-guiding color gradient to help pull the reader’s eyes from one line to the next, and reported benefits include increased reading speed and enhanced focus. The tool can benefit students with dyslexia, ADHD and low vision, as well as providing a better on-screen reading experience for all students.

Several institutions have been piloting this new alternative format over the last few months, and based on the extremely positive feedback we’re now making this alternative format available for all. The BeeLine Reader alternative format is available as part of your Ally license at no additional cost, and is now enabled by default.

The BeeLine Reader alternative format is also available in the Ally Feature Flag configuration, allowing for the format to easily be enabled / disabled if necessary.

More information on BeeLine Reader

Thanks so much to the institutions that have participated in the pilot!

COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, we have been seeing a significant increase in Ally usage and a large number of institutions adopting Ally as part of their move to fully online. The team’s primary consideration remains making sure that we provide a seamless service, and a lot of work is being done behind the scenes to ensure that all components are scaled up / out as required and to create additional onboarding capacity.

Ally 1.40 bug fixes and improvements

  • Implemented support for PPSX (PowerPoint Slideshow) files.
  • Due to a recent change in how Canvas loads the Global Javascript Include, implemented a fix to prevent the Ally javascript snippet being included multiple times from causing any issues.
  • Improved the accessibility of the tabs in the institutional report to allow them to be selected using the arrow keys.
Updated Features, New Features, Canvas Integration

Ally 1.39.2 | Release to production 4 March 2020

Updated features

Usage data export

The usage data export functionality in the Ally institutional report now includes the following additional columns in the “data” tab:

  • Term Id
  • Term Name

This allows for custom term-based usage data queries and visualizations to be created when required.

More on the Usage data report

Updated Features

Ally 1.39.3 | Release to production 4 March 2020

Updated features

COVID-19

The team has been taking several pre-emptive infrastructure measures to help prepare for significantly increased traffic as a growing number of schools move to fully online courses. We will continue to monitor closely and take any additional steps required to ensure a seamless service.

Ally 1.39.3 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that prevented the BeeLine Reader alternative format from rendering correctly on some mobile devices.
  • Improved the “Is this PDF tagged” accessibility check by excluding PDFs that only contain empty tags.
  • Fixed a bug that caused an unexpected animation when hovering over the accessibility score in the instructor feedback.
  • Fixed an accessibility score rounding error in the institutional accessibility report.
Updated Features

Ally 1.39.1 | Release to production 2 March 2020

Updated features

Electronic Braille Configuration

The Braille code used for a particular language can now be configured at the institutional level. For example, this means that the Braille code used for English can be mapped to either Unified English Braille contracted (grade 2) or uncontracted (grade 1).

Electronic Braille configuration changes can be requested through a Behind The Blackboard support ticket.

Ally 1.39.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the Tagged PDF alternative format to be downloaded using the wrong mime type. 
  • Fixed a bug that caused the instructor feedback to be loaded in a small window when launched from the course accessibility report.
  • Fixed a bug in the display of the total number of content items in the course accessibility report.
Updated Features

Ally 1.39 | Release to production 19 February 2020

Updated features, Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn Ultra Integration

As part of the Learn Ultra February SaaS release, the Ally integration for Blackboard Learn Ultra has been expanded significantly.

The Course Content page now includes the Alternative Formats download icon, providing immediate access to the alternative formats from the course landing page. The Course Content page also includes the accessibility indicators, allowing the instructor to immediately see the accessibility score for content items in the Course Content page and access the instructor feedback.

Files attached within Ultra documents now also include the Alternative Formats download icon and the accessibility indicators.

Updated Features, Blackboard Learn Integration

Ally 1.38.2 | Release to production 7 February 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.38.2 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a bug that caused courses in the Ally Configuration UI to not correctly reflect their actual enabled / disabled state. Learn more on the Ally Usergroup site.
  • Fixed a bug in the display of the Term menu in the Ally Configuration UI when long term names are part of the list of terms.
  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally cause the x-axis labels in the Accessibility Score graph in the institutional report to overlap.
Updated Features

Ally 1.38.1 | Release to production 1 February 2020

Updated features

Ally 1.38.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Updated the institutional report to show accessibility scores to the 1st decimal place.
  • Fixed a bug in the D2L Brightspace integration that caused copied courses to not be checked automatically by Ally.
  • Fixed a bug in the D2L Brightspace integration that sometimes caused files downloaded from the instructor feedback to not have a file extension.
  • Fixed a bug in the D2L Brightspace integration that occasionally caused the department association for a course to not synchronize correctly.
  • Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the institutional report CSV export to contain future dates.
  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally prevent the correct language from being detected in Norwegian documents. This would also cause the audio to be read in English instead of Norwegian.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented image descriptions consisting of a URL followed by text from being considered a valid image description.
  • Improved the display of the Library Reference in the alternative formats modal.
Updated Features, D2L Brightspace Integration

Ally 1.38 | Release to production 17 January 2020

New features, Updated features

Accessibility Scoring

The Ally institutional report used to provide a Without Ally score and a With Ally score. The Without Ally score was the baseline average accessibility score based on the content in the LMS or on the website, while the With Ally added an estimated level of automated improvement based on the alternative formats.

The Without Ally and With Ally scores have now been replaced by the following scores:

  • Overall average accessibility score
  • Average file accessibility score
  • Average WYSIWYG accessibility score (for Ally for LMS integrations)
  • Average Web Page accessibility score (for Ally for WCM and Ally for Websites)

The Average file accessibility score is the score for uploaded file content such as PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint documents, Images, and so on. The Average WYSIWYG accessibility score is the score for (HTML) content created through the LMS content editor. Average Web Page accessibility score is the score for the website’s pages. The Overall average accessibility score is the combined accessibility score for both files and WYSIWYG / Web Page content.

Typically, HTML content is much more accessible in nature. This is especially true for WYSIWYG content in the LMS, as they are usually small and simple HTML fragments. Splitting out the scores in this way allows for a better distinction between content that tends to be more accessible in nature and content that tends to be less accessible in nature, allowing for a better understanding of the overall accessibility score and allowing for more informed training and remediation strategies to be identified.

Ally for LMS

Ally for Websites

Ally 1.38 bug fixes and improvements

  • Fixed a known issue that prevented the Ally LTI tools (institutional report, configuration UI, course accessibility report) from loading correctly in Chrome 80+. More information about this known issue is available on the Ally user group site.
  • Fixed an issue that would prevent the usage reports from generating for institutions with large amounts of usage data.
  • Fixed a bug in the display of the Add description button in the instructor feedback for images without a description for the Welsh translation.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the Download icon in the instructor feedback from displaying correctly in the Swedish translation.
  • Implemented several screen reader accessibility improvements in the institutional report.
Updated Features, New Features

Ally 1.37.2 | Release to production 14 January 2020

Updated features

Ally for Websites Translated Version

The Translated Version alternative format for web pages in the Ally for Websites integration has been improved to retain the styling and images of the original page. This provides a translated version that’s much closer to the original page in appearance and content.

Ally 1.37.2 bug fixes and improvements

  • The automated weekly Ally for Websites crawls have been rescheduled to take place on Wednesdays by default.
  • The instructor-facing Course Accessibility Report is now refreshed more frequently make it more up-to-date at any point in time.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the LTI role for a user to be refreshed after launching one of the Ally LTI tools, changing their role in the LMS and then reloading the same LTI tool within the same session.
  • Fixed a bug that prevents PDFs with an invalid language attribute from being processed correctly.
Updated Features, Web Integration

Ally 1.37.1 | Release to production 7 January 2020

Updated features

Ally for Websites Alternative Formats

Ally for Websites now makes it possible to exclude links to PDFs, Word, Powerpoint and other documents from showing in the list of available alternative formats for that page. This can be achieved by adding the `data-ally-af-disabled` attribute to the link that should be excluded from the alternative formats.

Ally 1.37.1 bug fixes and improvements

  • Added the content id to the Data tab in the usage reports.
  • Fixed a bug in the Ally Configuration UI that prevented the Terms menu from filtering the list correctly.
Updated Features, Web Integration