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Blackboard Ally - Instructors

CSU San Marcos is committed to making content accessible for all students. Access to content in Cougar Courses in a format that best meets the needs of diverse learners is a challenge for many students.  PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files often don’t work on mobile devices or with note-taking apps.  Processing these materials into a format that is accessible for all students can be quite challenging and time consuming for instructors.
 
With this in mind, IITS began searching for a solution that would help faculty and students that integrated seamlessly into our campus learning management system (Cougar Courses).  The product selected is Blackboard Ally.  Ally is an innovative product that focuses on making digital course content more accessible for all students on all devices. Using inclusivity, sustainability and automation as its key pillars, Ally helps tackle accessibility in a way that benefits all students without adding a burden to instructors. Ally will allow every student to feel included and learn in their own way.

Alternative Formats for Better Quality, Usability & Accessibility of Content, for Everybody

 Ally automatically runs all course materials through an accessibility checklist that checks for common accessibility issues. Using advanced Machine Learning algorithms, Ally will generate a range of more accessible alternatives for the instructor’s original and will make these available to all students in the course. These alternative accessible formats include HTML, audio, ePub and electronic braille.

Making Your Course Content Accessible - Student View

Ensure a More Inclusive Learning Experience

Students access course materials from a variety of locations on a variety of devices.  Ally allows them to engage with the course material in their preferred format.  Some students may only have access on a phone or tablet and the HTML format works well for them.  Other students may prefer to listen the content.  Ensuring course content the most accessible allows students to choose their preferred method.

Workshops and 1:1 guidance

Ally provides instructor guidance on how to improve the accessibility of course content.  Email etext@csusm.edu with your availability to get started.  We offer workshops, department trainings, and 1:1 guidance.  You can also review our "How to guides" for remediating Word, PDF, and PowerPoint files. 

Frequently Asked Questions