What Do I Need to Do

Qualified individuals with disabilities must be afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same benefits and services within the same timeframe as a person without a disability, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Under current law and policy, there is a difference between publicly available materials and those accessible in a non-public format (e.g., your class via login).

  • Materials available in a non-public format, such as a class, need to be made accessible in a reasonable timeframe if an accommodation is requested and provided by Disability Support Services. Otherwise, there are no existing minimum standards for accessible materials within Blackboard.
  • Materials available on a public website need to meet accessibility guidelines.

How do I know if my course materials meet accessibility guidelines?

Academic Affairs and Instructional Technology are pleased to share with you that Blackboard’s accessibility tool, Ally, is being implemented in all courses starting in Summer 2018.

What is Ally?

Ally is a tool within Blackboard that reviews uploaded files for accessibility and provides guidance on improving them. You will see the indicators next to scanned documents.

Currently, Ally scans:

  • Word documents
  • PowerPoint files
  • PDF documents
  • Images
  • HTML files (uploaded)

Why Ally?

Ally will increase the community’s awareness of accessibility practices and improve student access to electronic materials within Blackboard. It will make meeting the requirements of an accommodation easier for faculty as it identifies potential issues and provides step by step instructions for addressing them. It will also help identify areas where the college can support faculty in increasing the accessibility of course materials.

Course materials that meet accessibility guidelines also provide a number of benefits to many students with clear navigation, search options, and additional ways to obtain information. They provide a set of good practices for document design and management.

To Learn More

The Center of Instruction and Technology has links to guides for faculty on:

Workshops on Ally will be offered in Spring 2019.
Register through the Center of Instruction & Technology.

What if I Have Questions

  • Contact the IT Help Desk for questions about Ally.
  • Contact about strategies for accessibility and universal design in selecting and creating course materials.

Blackboard Accessibility Help.

This page developed and maintained by Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Send comments and suggestions to

Last Updated: 12/3/19