Introduction to the Ally Accessibility Tool (in Bruin Learn)

Welcome to the DCP's quick introduction for the Ally Accessibility Tool in UCLA's LMS, Bruin Learn!

To get started, please watch the video and check out our Ally FAQs below.

Ally is a valuable tool created by Blackboard that works within the Bruin Learn system to make content more accessible for students. It automatically checks the accessibility of course content and generates alternative formats of class material such as electronic braille, audio, tagged PDF, and HTML. Ally has independent functions for the following users:

 

Faculty

The Ally tool is used to encourage faculty to make their course materials more accessible by giving transparent feedback in the form of an accessibility score for each file. Ally makes it easy for faculty to troubleshoot inaccessible files by walking them through clear steps to make each specific file more accessible. More information can be found on the Ally Faculty Guide

Faculty FAQs

What is Ally?

Ally is a set of tools within Bruin Learn that helps make course content more accessible by delivering  the following functionality:

  • Allow students to automatically generate “Alternative Formats” for course files, and make them available for download. These formats include OCR’d PDFs, HTML, ePub, Electronic braille, Audio (MP3), BeeLine Reader.
  • Provide instructors with visual, accessibility indicators next to uploaded course documents so instructors can see accessibility scores, and information about how to create a more accessible version of the file (note: these “meter” icons are not displayed to students).
Why is Ally in my course?

Ally is enabled for all courses in Bruin Learn so students can access alternative formats of their course materials, and to help instructors offer more accessible course materials.

Do students see the accessibility meters?  Red Ally accessibility meter symbol example

No, these icons are not displayed to students. The accessibility meters will only appear for those who have the Teacher, TA, Grader, or Designer roles in the course.

What content does Ally check?
  • PDF files
  • Microsoft® Word files
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint® files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files
  • Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF)
  • WYSIWYG/VTBE content
  • YouTubeTM videos embedded in WYSIWYG/VTBE content
Why won’t the accessibility meter appear next to some of my course materials?

The file may not be one of the ones that Ally scans. Please check the above question “What content does Ally check?”  to learn which files are scanned by Ally.

If you have just uploaded a document, please allow 5-10 minutes for the scan to complete and the accessibility meter icon to appear next to it. In rare cases, some scans can take a couple of hours. 

Will my original files be affected by the alternate formats?

No. Ally makes copies of your original file as alternate formats but does not change or alter your original file.

How do I know what to fix in order to make my files more accessible?

When you click on your accessibility score, you will be able to learn what the issue is, why it’s important, and how to fix it. Ally automatically identifies the problem for you and gives you clear instructions on how to correct it. In some cases, Ally allows you to correct the issue directly inside Bruin Learn, but in other cases, it will link you to specific resources that will walk you through how to solve the problem in the tools you used to create the content.

I would like help making my course materials accessible, where do I go?

Please use the self-help instructor feedback video available in Ally.

For more help files, check out Ally's self-help instructor resources.

If you need further assistance, please contact bruinlearn-support@it.ucla.edu.

Students

Ally automatically generates different formats of course material posted by the instructor on Bruin Learn. Students can choose to download the original file or any alternative format available, such as tagged PDF, HTML, audio, or electronic braille. These alternate formats help provide more accessible options to students with a disability, as well as allow any student to choose a form of learning that works best for them. More information can be found on the Ally Student Guide.

Student FAQs

As a student, how do I use Ally?

Ally offers students (and anyone else who is a member of the course site) the ability to download alternative formats of most course materials.

 

Note:  The Ally Tool's campus-wide release will occur in Summer 2022.