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Blackboard Ally Is All About Accessibility for You

This article appeared in the Oct. 8, 2019, issue of the student newsletter.

DCCCD recently adopted Blackboard Ally, a tool used to make classrooms more inclusive by generating alternative formats of the digital content you view in eCampus (Blackboard).

That means alternative versions of Word documents and PDFs will be available for you to download and use in your classes. 

The tool also helps instructors create more accessible versions of their content.

"The most important thing for our students to understand with Blackboard Ally is they can now download alternative formats to view material in a way that is best for them," said Dan Luciani, executive district director, online IT support. 

And for those of us who view content on our phones, Ally makes documents more accessible on all your devices as well. 

"Many of us use mobile devices and find we have to continuously scroll or expand our screens to view the content," Dan said. "By changing to an HTML format, the content is reformatted to fit the device better and is much easier to view. 

"An audio version might be beneficial to someone with a visual impairment or someone who wants to have the content read to them." 

The alternative formats available for you to download are: 

  • Tagged PDF (a structured PDF for improved use with assistive technology)
  • HTML
  • ePub (for reading as an e-book on an iPad and other e-book readers)
  • Electronic Braille
  • Audio (MP3 version for listening)
  • BeeLine Reader (enhanced version for easier and faster on-screen reading)
  • Translated version (a machine-translated version of the original document) 

In addition to the changes in eCampus, Blackboard Ally for Web has also been added to the website and will soon be added to the other college websites.

With the tool, users can download alternative formats of documents on the websites as well as download an electronic Braille or MP3 version of the webpage.

You can watch a video about Blackboard Ally and learn about using alternative formats on the Ally support site.