KU Introduces a New Accessibility Solution for Courses and Websites
KU is introducing Ally, a new solution to help instructors and website owners make their content more accessible and flexible. Ally works in two ways:
- Evaluates content in Canvas, Blackboard and on websites to identify accessibility issues, and guides instructors and website owners in making content accessible.
- Automatically generates alternative formats of course and web content and makes them available for download.
Ally for LMS will be available in Canvas and Blackboard beginning on Aug. 2. KU IT staff plans to implement Ally for Web on KU CMS Sunflower websites sometime during the fall semester. We will share a more specific date with website administrators when the timeline is finalized.
Evaluate and Fix Issues
Ally for LMS
Ally for LMS provides accessibility feedback within the course workflow in Canvas and Blackboard. When instructors log in to their course site, they will find an accessibility indicator next to Microsoft Word, PDF, PowerPoint and other files.
Select the indicator to view the instructor feedback, and follow the step-by-step instructions to address the issues identified.
Ally for Web
Ally provides a website accessibility report that provides site administrators with insight and understanding into how their site is performing and helps identify accessibility issues. The report helps the site administrator track progress and identify ways to further improve accessibility on the site.
Automatically Generates Alternative Formats
Ally for LMS
Ally creates alternative formats of the original content instructors add to their courses. These formats are made available with the original file, so everything is in one convenient location. The alternative formats allow students to access information in a way that best meets their needs. For example, content posted as a Microsoft Word document in Canvas or Blackboard will be automatically available as an audio file, mobile-friendly HTML, electronic braille and other formats.
Ally for Web
The ability to automatically generate alternative formats of both web pages and linked files is particularly important on websites, where site administrators can’t know the unique needs of each visitor to their site. Ally makes the alternative formats available along with the original content, so everything is in one convenient location. For example, if the original content is a PDF, Ally creates audio, electronic braille, and ePub formats of the same content.
Commitment to Accessibility
As an institution, KU is committed to making all content accessible to create an equitable experience for everyone. Ally for LMS and Ally for Web will help us do that both in our courses and on our websites. However, instructors and website administrators must still invest the time and effort to create accessible documents. It is important to note that the alternative formats Ally automatically creates still require an accessible source document to start.
In addition to Ally, KU’s Content Accessibility website provides guidance for creating accessible documents, videos and web pages. Recorded workshops are also available on the How to KU website. And, the CMS Guide provides additional information for making websites accessible.