Ally: Coming to Moodle soon

Ally: Coming to Moodle soon

On the 4th May 2021, a new feature called Ally will become active in Moodle. Ally is an accessibility enhancement service that will give students additional options for accessing online content, and give staff contextual advice on making materials more accessible.

Ally Features

Whenever you upload a supported document to Moodle, Ally works behind the scenes to convert this file into several accessible alternatives. Ally integrates automatically into Moodle, and does not require any set-up by staff.

Moodle screengrab showint eh Ally Alternative Formats menu
The ‘alternative formats’ menu appears next to supported documents in Moodle.

Students and staff will be able to download the converted material as a variety of documents to  customize for reading on all sorts of devices.  Supported files can even be transformed into speech-based audio files, so you can hear, instead of read the materials.

A screengrab of the download options
Supported files can be converted into many formats

As well as automatically converting the files, Blackboard Ally gives staff contextual feedback on the accessibility of the original documents. This feedback appears as tiny ‘dials’: click these to reveal a panel of instructions on how to make files more accessible.

The Ally score beside a document
An accessibility score is displayed to instructors
The Ally accessibility score panel
The ‘dials’ link through to advice on making content more accessible.

Ally implementation timeline

As well as automatically converting the files, Blackboard Ally gives staff contextual feedback on the accessibility of the original documents. This feedback appears as tiny ‘dials’: click these to reveal a panel of instructions on how to make files more accessible.

You can already find information about Ally Teaching Online pages and on Canvas. This information will be updated over the coming weeks to reveal more about the experience of using Ally for staff and for students.

Week commencing 19th April 2021

Staff development sessions will be scheduled to provide an overview of Ally.

Student-facing messages about the arrival of Ally will be published on the Studying Online page as well as the My UAL app.

Tuesday 4th May 2021

Ally will be activated on all 20/21 UAL courses, revealing the ‘alternative formats’ menu to students and the ‘accessibility score icons’ to staff across Moodle. Hands-on sessions for staff will be scheduled for this week.

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