Install Ally tools, filter, and report plugins

The 3.3 versions of the plugins are compatible with Moodle 3.2.

  1. Download or clone the needed version of the Ally admin tool from github.

    1. Downloading as a ZIP file
      1. Change the branch version, if necessary.
      2. Review the version.php file to see if the needed Moodle version ("requires") number and release matches your Moodle version. I.e. for Moodle 3.4

        $plugin->release = '3.4.3';

        $plugin->requires = 2017111300;

        The "3.4.3" release should work with Moodle 3.4 installs. If these parameters don't match your Moodle installation, you may need to change the branch again.

        More on the corresponding Moodle releases and version numbers

      3. Download the repo using the "Clone or download > Download ZIP"
    2. Cloning git repository
      1. Access the tools folder.

        cd [moodle location]/admin/tool

      2. Clone the repository
        • Using SSH

          git clone [email protected]:blackboard-open-source/moodle-tool_ally ally

        • Using HTTP

          git clone https://github.com/blackboard-open-source/moodle-tool_ally.git ally

      3. Checkout the corresponding branch, I.e. for Moodle 3.4 it's MOODLE_34_STABLE

        git checkout MOODLE_34_STABLE

        Checking out the branch can be used for getting updates too, so, if you updated your Moodle installation, you can just check out the corresponding branch. If the branch is not found, your repo might be outdated, this can be fixed by doing fetch:

        git fetch

  2. Download or clone the needed version of the Ally filter from github.

    1. Downloading as a ZIP file
      1. Change the branch version if necessary
      2. Review the version.php file to see if the needed Moodle version ("requires") number and release matches your Moodle version. I.e. for Moodle 3.4

        $plugin->release = '3.4.3';

        $plugin->requires = 2017111300;

        The "3.4.3" release should work with Moodle 3.4 installs. If these parameters don't match your Moodle installation, you may need to change the branch again.

        More on the corresponding Moodle releases and version numbers.

      3. Download the repo using the "Clone or download > Download ZIP"
    2. Cloning git repository
      1. Access the filters folder.

        cd [moodle location]/filter

      2. Clone the repository
        • Using SSH

          git clone [email protected]:blackboard-open-source/moodle-filter_ally ally

        • Using http

          git clone https://github.com/blackboard-open-source/moodle-filter_ally.git ally

      3. Checkout the corresponding branch, I.e. for Moodle 3.4 it's MOODLE_34_STABLE

        git checkout MOODLE_34_STABLE

        Checking out the branch can be used for getting updates too, so, if you updated your Moodle installation, you can just check out the corresponding branch. If the branch is not found, your repo might be outdated, this can be fixed by doing fetch:

        git fetch

  3. Download the needed version of the Ally report LTI tool from github.

    1. Downloading as a ZIP file
      1. Change the branch version if necessary
      2. Review the version.php file to see if the needed Moodle version ("requires") number and release matches your Moodle version. I.e. for Moodle 3.4

        $plugin->release = '3.4.3';

        $plugin->requires = 2017111300;

        The "3.4.3" release should work with Moodle 3.4 installs. If these parameters don't match your Moodle installation, you may need to change the branch again.

        More on the corresponding Moodle releases and version numbers.

      3. Download the repo using the "Clone or download > Download ZIP"
    2. Cloning git repository
      1. Access the reports folder

        cd [moodle location]/report

      2. Clone the repository
        • Using SSH

          git clone [email protected]:blackboard-open-source/moodle-report_allylti ally

        • Using HTTP

          git clone https://github.com/blackboard-open-source/moodle-report_allylti.git ally

      3. Checkout the corresponding branch, I.e. for Moodle 3.4 it's MOODLE_34_STABLE

        git checkout MOODLE_34_STABLE

        Checking out the branch can be used for getting updates too, so, if you updated your Moodle installation, you can just check out the corresponding branch. If the branch is not found, your repo might be outdated, this can be fixed by doing fetch:

        git fetch

  4. Verify the folder structure.

    The admin tool directory should be named ally. It should have a path as follows:

    [yourmoodledir]/admin/tool/ally

    The filter directory should be named ally. It should have a path as follows:

    [yourmoodledir]/filter/ally

    The report directory should be named allylti. It should have a path as follows:

    [yourmoodledir]/report/allylti

  5. Make sure that each folder and its contents are readable by your web server.
  6. Log in as an admin user to your Moodle site and open the admin page. This should check for new plugins and present you with an option to Upgrade Moodle database now. Select this button to install the plugins.
  7. After installing the plugins, navigate to System Administration > Plugins > Admin tools > Ally.
  8. Select Auto configure Ally web service'.

    On the next screen there will be a web service token and a URL for testing the ally web service.

    This URL needs to be directly accessible from the internet so that Ally can use it.

    If successful, you will need to copy the Ally web service token, and web service link and provide it to your Ally technical consultant via the IronBox share they will setup and give you access to via email link. They will contact you once everything is set up at their end and provide you the 'key', 'secret', 'launch URL, 'file updates URL and 'client id'.

    If your Moodle instance makes use of custom required fields for user accounts, “Log in as” the Ally Webservice user that gets created by the plugin auto-configure to ensure those custom fields are populated and saved.


Configure the Moodle plugin

The Ally technical consult will create the Ally client using the Moodle Webservice Token generated in the previous section and will provide you the details for configuring the Ally Plugin.

  1. Log in as a Moodle administrator.
  2. From Site administration select Plugins and Admin tools. Select Ally Configuration.
  3. Enter the following details
    • Content Authors: The user roles that are content authors. Must be: Manager, Course creator, Teacher (the defaults).

      This normally shouldn't need to change, please don't change this without consulting with the Ally technical consultant.

    • Key: The LTI Key that was provided by Ally technical consultant
    • Secret: The LTI Secret that was provided by Ally technical consultant
    • Launch URL: The LTI Launch URL that was provided by Ally technical consultant
    • File Update URL: The File Update/Event URL that was provided by Ally technical consultant. https://[AllyEnvironment].ally.ac/api/v1/events
    • Client ID: The Client ID that was provided by Ally technical consultant
  4. Save changes.

Ally Institution Report

Once the Ally plugin has been configured, you will be able to access the Ally Institution Report.

No data will be present in the report until Ally course syncing has occurred and the initial report is generated.

To access the Ally Institution Report, go to Site administration and select Reports. Select Accessibility.

More on Ally's Institutional Report


Ally Filter

When you are ready to have the Ally accessibility score indicators and Alternative Accessible version download option made available within Moodle, you will need to activate the Ally filter.

Enable the Ally filter

  1. From Site administration  select Plugins  and Plugins overview.
  2. Go down to the Text filters section and enable the Ally filter.
  3. Move the Ally filter to the top of the Filter list.

Access Ally Configuration UI

We provide you with instructions on how to access Ally Configuration during set up. If you don't have access, submit a request on Behind the Blackboard.

Ally Configure Courses


Configure courses

Go to your Ally Configuration page and turn Ally on for all courses or decide course-by-course. It's up to you.

  1. View how many of your courses use Ally.
  2. Turn Ally on or off for all existing courses. Decide ahead of time if you want it enabled for all future courses as well.
  3. Search for individual courses or filter all course by enabled, disabled, and term.
  4. Turn Ally on or off for individual courses.

Turn Ally on or off for a single course

When Ally is on, instructors and students benefit from the accessibility scores, instructor feedback and alternative formats that Ally provides.

The Institutional report is available for all courses. It doesn't matter if Ally is on or off in a course. The course appears in the Institutional report.

From Ally Configuration, find the course you want to update. Use the Search field and filters to search by course title, course ID and course code.

Select Enable or Disable under the Enabled column to turn Ally on or off.

  • Ally is off: Select Enable course UI integration to turn on
  • Ally is on: Select Disable course UI integration to turn off

Turn Ally on or off for all courses

Not sure if all courses are using Ally or not? At the top of the Ally Configuration page, see how many of your courses are currently using Ally.

When Ally is on, instructors and students benefit from the accessibility scores, instructor feedback and alternative formats that Ally provides.

The Institutional report is available for all courses. It doesn't matter if Ally is on or off in a course. The course appears in the Institutional report.

You can turn Ally on or off in every existing course from the Ally Configuration page. Select Disable/enable all courses and select Disable or Enable.

Select Enable in future courses if you want Ally automatically on in all new courses.

If you don't select this, new courses will not have Ally enabled. If you want Ally on at a later date, turn Ally on for single courses.

After you choose to disable or enable in all courses, you need to confirm your choice. Select Enable or Disable, depending on your choice. Select Cancel if you changed your mind and don't want to change anything.


Turn Ally on for all new courses only

When Ally is on, instructors and students benefit from the accessibility scores, instructor feedback and alternative formats that Ally provides.

The Institutional report is available for all courses. It doesn't matter if Ally is on or off in a course. The course appears in the Institutional report.

Select Enable in future courses if you want Ally automatically on in all new courses.

If you don't select this, new courses will not have Ally enabled. If you want Ally on at a later date, turn Ally on for single courses.

Ally Configure Help Settings


Configure Ally user help settings

Configure custom help messages that display in the Alternative formats and Instructor feedback modals. The custom help messages can be used to point students and instructors to existing institutional documentation, share contact information, and so on. The custom help content can be configured in the Ally Configuration UI, and uses the Markdown format to help provide a structured (and accessible) message.

When no custom message has been configured, the Help links point to these pages in Blackboard help:

  • Alternative formats: This page explains how and when the different alternative formats can be used
  • Instructor help: Everything instructors need to know about Ally in their courses
  1. Go to your Ally Configuration and select Help settings.
  2. Choose the default or custom help option for both the Instructor feedback help and Alternative formats help.
  3. If you choose the custom option, edit the Custom message.

    Use the Markdown format to help provide a structured (and accessible) message.

  4. Select Save changes.

Configure expert help

Give your instructors and students easy access to your team of accessibility experts. Enable expert help to add a way for your users to request more help directly from in the alternative formats and instructor feedback panels.

When a request is made, an email containing the help request and details about the current course, content item and user is sent to the email address you configure.

  1. Go to your Ally Configuration and select Help settings.
  2. Choose Provide custom help for both the Instructor feedback help and Alternative formats help.
  3. Select Enable expert help.
  4. Type the email address for your team of accessibility experts.
  5. Select Save changes.

The Ally API user for the Blackboard Learn integration needs to be given the "Administrator Panel (Users) > Users" or "system.user.view" permission to allow Ally to include the student name and email address in the help request email. The Ally API user for the Moodle integration needs to be given the “moodle/user:viewalldetails” permission to allow Ally to include the student name and email address in the help request email.

Request alternative formats help

Request instructor feedback help