Ally Basics for Brightspace

Ally - Accessibility Tool

Ally automatically scans course content in Brightspace for common accessibility issues and provides feedback to help faculty gauge the overall accessibility of their course, along with step-by-step guidance for fixing issues.

While Ally is designed to promote accessibility and student success by improving course content, the Alternative Format function can also help generate accessible versions of your original files for download and distribution.

Alternative Formats

Ally automatically scans your original content, determines what accessible formats can be created from that content, and performs a series of steps to generate new accessible file types. These alternate formats are available for download to you and your students through a link/icon to the right of each file. Your original files will not be affected by this process and remain available as the default content.

Alternative Formats icon

Ally generates alternate formats for the following file types:

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Files/Pages created in Brightspace
  • Uploaded HTML files

Alternate file formats created by Ally include:

  • Tagged PDF
  • OCRed PDF (only available for scanned PDFs)
  • HTML (web page)
  • MP3 (audio file)
  • ePub (for reading as an e-book)
  • Electronic Braille
  • BeeLine Reader 

Download Alternative formats

Accessibility Scores

Ally automatically checks for accessibility issues in your new, existing, and updated course content then assigns each item an accessibility score based on the number and severity of the issues. These scores are represented by a numerical scale, from 0% to 100%, and a colored gauge with a low, medium, or high tag.

Note: Typically, when uploading new or updated content, you should see your accessibility score within 15-90 seconds. This may take longer if your content is complex, or if you have a lot of course content and it is being assessed all at once.

Gauge representing how accessible a piece of content is

File Types

Currently, Ally checks the following types of files for common accessibility issues:

  • PDF files
  • Microsoft Word files
  • Microsoft PowerPoint® files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files
  • Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BPM, TIFF)
  • Pages created within Brightspace

Ally Indicators

Ally Indicators

Ally runs in the background on your course and provides feedback automatically as part of your normal course workflow. You will find the Ally indicators to the right of each content item, in the menu area of each individual content page, and within the Course Accessibility Report. Clicking any of these indicators will take you to the Instructor Feedback Panel where you can find step-by-step instructions for improving the accessibility of your original file. 

Course Accessibility Report

Accessed through the Ally Report menu item:

Ally Report acces from Course Tools menu

Your Course Accessibility Report provides an accessibility summary and overview of your content at the course level. Specific areas of the report include:

  • Overall accessibility score for the course
  • A breakdown of course content by file type
  • Two quick links for remediating content: 1. content with the easiest issues to fix and 2. content with the most severe issues
  • A list of all files with accessibility issues (grouped by issue type and severity)

Course Accessibility Report

Instructor Feedback Panel

The Instructor Feedback Panel provides a preview of your document with highlights identifying instances of the current accessibility issue. It also lists the file's accessibility score, gives links to detailed explanations, and step-by-step instructions for fixing each type of issue. 

Sample feedback panel



Article ID: 148905
Tue 1/30/24 8:56 AM
Mon 2/5/24 3:30 PM