CAT encourages all faculty, not just those with students needing accommodations, to design their courses and content to be accessible. Use Universal Design for Learning principles to design content in an accessible way for all learners. To take a first step to learn more about accessibility, complete the Keeping Accessibility Front of Mind training module.

The Law

According to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, any electronic information or technology developed, purchased, maintained, or used by Butler University must provide equitable access and use for individuals with disabilities. The access and use must be comparable to that provided to individuals without disabilities.

Universal Design

Universal Design, or Inclusive Design, is the design and creation of environments both physical and digital that can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, physical stature, preferences, disability, or ability. It should be a fundamental goal to design environments that meet the needs of all people. Incorporating the needs of all people results in spaces, products, and service that are useful, beneficial and enjoyable for all. Developing your electronic materials using Universal Design principles is easy and simply, good design. To learn how to implement Universal Design in your course, email

Syllabus Requirement

The Butler University accommodation statement must be included on all your course syllabi. You can find the statement on the SDS website.

Resources for Faculty

The Center for Academic Technology has a variety of resources and services to help you create accessible materials. Make a one-on-one consultation appointment, attend one of our accessibility workshops, or explore the resources below.

During the fall 2020 semester, Butler faculty piloted Ally, an accessibility tool that integrates with Canvas to provide faculty with specific steps to improve accessibility as well as provide alternative formats for documents. The feedback from the pilot was positive, and CAT officially launched Ally in Canvas for all users during the fall 2021 semester. For help with Ally, visit Ally for LMS Help and the Ally Help Index.

Students at Butler University are diverse individuals with their own unique learning abilities. Ally is an accessibility tool that promotes inclusivity for all students. Ally integrates into Canvas and automatically converts course materials into a variety of different formats. Students are then given the ability to download their preferred format. These more accessible formats range from electronic braille for students with visual impairments, e-book and HTML files for ease of use on mobile devices, and audio for listening and learning on the go.

Ally makes it easy for instructors to update their course content to make it more accessible. The tool integrates into each Canvas course and will scan course materials and give each file, document, and image an accessibility score. Instructors can then see which content in their course needs improvement from an accessibility standpoint. Ally provides step-by-step instructions for how to fix the accessibility issues it detects.

Instructors will see different colored gauges to the right of their course content. Each gauge color represents the level of accessibility of each piece of content. The level of accessibility is determined by how many issues are present within the content. A lower score indicates more issues, while a higher score indicates fewer issues. Ally will give each piece of content a numerical score ranging from 0% (not accessible) to 100% (perfectly accessible). The colored gauges reflect this score. Students do not see the gauges.

Gauges as seen in Blackboard Ally, color-coded to show levels of accessibility. Red: low; orange: medium; light green: high; green: perfect

Instructors will also see what is called the Course Accessibility Report in their course navigation menu. The Course Accessibility Report is generated automatically by Ally and gives instructors an overview of how accessible their entire course is. The report is a complement to the gauges and further helps instructors make the necessary accessibility updates to their course content. The Course Accessibility Report helps instructors determine which pieces of course content have the most severe accessibility issues. Students do not see the Course Accessibility Report.

The report will show three things:

  • An overall accessibility score for the course
  • A list of the different types of course content present in the course (PDFs, Word Documents, PowerPoints, etc.)
  • A list of all accessibility issues currently present in the course content

Students will see download arrows to the right of each piece of content in their Canvas courses. Clicking the download arrows will open up an alternative formats window where the desired format can be downloaded. The alternative formats Ally provides are tagged PDFs, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, audio, and translated versions of documents.

Sourced Content

Third party owned videos (e.g. found on YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) used in your courses should contain high-quality captions. To assist you in this process, CAT and the Library have developed a sequence of steps to help you source and use the best captioned video content for your course. For more information, see Do third-party videos need to be captioned for my class?

Self-Produced Content

When creating your own videos, you can add and edit your own captions. To do so, see:

Live Captioning

If you have a student who is eligible for live captioning services, you will receive notification about this from SDS and access to a tool that creates automatic captions in Zoom.

If you do not have a student with a stated need for accommodation but would still like to explore caption options for live lectures, visit How do I make a live Zoom lecture accessible?

The Center for Academic Technology recently added an integration, Ally, to Canvas that automatically provides alternative formats of course files and pages to students. Because of this addition, CAT will no longer provide the SensusAccess tool that performs the same fundamental function. Use of SensusAccess was discontinued in September 2021.

Faculty and students who wish to use an alternative version of course content should refer to the how-to steps for Ally. Students, please contact CAT if you need an alternative version of a file that is not located in a Canvas course.

To learn about other methods for creating accessible documents, visit the Accessibility LibGuide.

We believe some of our SensusAccess users may have been using the service for file conversions from Word to PDF and vice versa. If you need to convert a file, use one of the resources linked below.

If you have Word:

If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro DC:

Note that after converting a file, you may need to add in accessibility features such as headings, alt text, tags, and reading order. Review how to make accessible Word documents and/or how to make accessible PDFs on our Accessibility LibGuide.