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Blackboard Ally

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.
As a result, 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 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. Ally will also provide instructor feedback on how to improve the accessibility of their course content.