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Irwin Library atrium
Center for Academic Technology


What is Ally?

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. 

What do Instructors See?

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.

The four Ally gauges: Needs help! Low (0-36%) red gauge; A little better. Medium (34-66%) orange gauge. Almost there. High (67-99%) light green gauge. Perfect. Perfect (100%) dark green gauge.

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

What do students see?

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.