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Improving Accessibility of Course Documents with Ally

The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center (TLTC) is providing trial access to Ally (stylized as A11y), a tool in Moodle that helps enhance the usability and accessibility of course documents.

Ally’s two main functions are to:

  1. evaluate all documents that are uploaded to Moodle and, for those documents which do not comply with accessibility guidelines, lead the instructor through the steps needed to improve the accessibility of the document.
  2. provide students with multiple formats of the original document so they can select the one that best fits their unique needs.

Benefits for Students:

Ally improves the student experience by providing alternative and accessible formats of uploaded course documents. The accessible versions available will depend on the original document. For example, a Microsoft Word document can be download as a PDF or a Moodle Page resource can be downloaded as an MP3 audio file. Students may select the format that best meets their needs. Providing access to course documents in alternative formats is beneficial to all students, regardless of ability.

Benefits for Instructors:

The goal of Ally is to assist instructors with learning techniques for enhancing the accessibility of course documents. There are no required actions however, the integrated Ally tutorials will provide information and simple steps to take to improve the accessibility of uploaded course materials. Instructors can use these techniques when creating future course content and ensure that these materials are accessible from the start. As subject matter experts, faculty members’ main goal is to communicate concepts and help students achieve learning outcomes. Ally is another available tool to help instructors meet that goal.

How Ally Works:

Once an instructor uploads a document into a Moodle course, Ally performs an automated accessibility evaluation and a small accessibility gauge will appear next to each uploaded document. The gauge indicates the overall accessibility of the document as a percentage.

The indicator is color-coded and uses a visual pointer to indicate the accessibility score:

  • Red indicator with a left pointing arrow = low accessibility score
  • Yellow indicator with a upward pointing arrow = medium accessibility score
  • Green indicator with a right pointing arrow = high accessibility score
Ally then guides faculty through a series of steps designed to remediate the document and improve the overall accessibility.

Training and Support:

Moodle training and support is available from the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center (TLTC@purchase.edu)

Additional resources:

You may be contacted by the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), and you can also receive training from Rebecca Oling (Interim Director of Digital Accessibility) or Dan Schipul (Campus Technology Services).