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Accessibility Features in Brightspace

The Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center (TLTC), in collaboration with the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), is seeking to increase awareness about three key accessibility features in Brightspace: Anthology Ally (formerly Blackboard Ally), Accommodations and Special Access, and the built-in Accessibility Checker.

How to Use Ally in Brightspace

Anthology Ally (formerly Blackboard Ally) is available in Brightspace to help faculty improve the accessibility and usability of course materials. Ally can also generate alternative formats of accessible content (e.g. audio, e-reader, electronic Braille, etc.), allowing students increased flexibility. We encourage instructors to use it as a guide for improving the quality of existing and new digital course content.

To open the Ally interface, simply upload or create content in the course and click on the gauge icon that appears next to the item. The indicator is color-coded and uses a visual pointer to indicate the accessibility score. Follow the prompts to work through improving the document’s accessibility. 

More information about working with Ally to improve course documents can be found at the TLTC’s website.

How to Add Extra Time to Brightspace Activities

Instructors have the ability to allow additional time on quizzes and other activities by using the “Accommodations” feature at the individual student level and the “Special Access” option at the individual activity level.

Add “Accommodations” to a Particular Student in Brightspace:

To access a specific student’s “Accommodations” options in Brightspace:

  1. from the course Navbar, click on Course Management > Roster
  2. click on the chevron next to the student whose quiz accommodations you want to add/view, and then click “View Accommodations
  3. under the “Timing” heading, select “Modify Time Limit” and choose to either increase the original quiz time by a factor, or add extra time in minutes
  4. click the “Save” button to update that student’s accommodations

More about available Accommodations in Brightspace can be found at their official help documentation.

Special Access:

You can modify the access to a Quiz or Assignment for particular students using the Special Access setting, which you can find under the “Availability Dates & Conditions” section at the Quiz or Assignment’s setup area. The Special Access options allow you to add extra time and/or change the due date for certain students. Please see the following Brightspace help pages for more information:

The Brightspace Accessibility Checker

The built-in Brightspace Accessibility Checker, which you can access from the HTML editor (look for the eye icon with the check mark next to it), is available to all instructors and content authors (e.g. learning assistants, course librarians, etc.) who can create or edit HTML pages in Brightspace courses. Simply run an accessibility check to identify and quickly correct common accessibility errors on the fly. More about the Accessibility Checker in Brightspace is available at their official help documentation.

Brightspace and Accessibility Support

For additional support with using Brightspace, please connect with the SUNY Online Help Desk.

For questions regarding accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Resources.

Learn more about creating accessible and barrier free course content, please contact Rebecca Oling, Director of Digital Accessibility