GVSU’s use of Blackboard Ally supports diversity, equity, and inclusive education.
Recently the GV Forum featured a highlight of Ally as the university works to increase the accessibility of course content in Blackboard.
Here is the article as highlighted by GV Forum:
More than 218,000 digital content items from more than 3,700 courses have been scanned by Blackboard Ally since the software was made available in June to students, faculty and staff members.
Blackboard Ally scans files uploaded into courses and evaluates the level of accessibility of content by displaying colored “dials” (red, yellow and green). These indicators provide awareness and insight and are only visible to instructors. The goal is to work to improve the accessibility of the files to turn the dials to green, which provides benefits for the learning needs of all students.
Eric Kunnen, associate director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, said more accessible content means students have more usable, readable learning materials as well as high-quality alternative formats of content that work better on mobile devices.
“After Ally automatically scans course content, an indicator is displayed that estimates the level of accessibility of the file and a score is provided,” Kunnen said. “The system then provides on screen guidance to help make the file more accessible.”
So far, more than 464 files have been fixed by 138 faculty members in 146 courses.
Kunnen said Ally supports student success through universal design for learning principles and by building capacity to respond to increased federal and legal requirements for accessibility.
“Ally not only provides benefits to students with disabilities, but it also supports the university’s work in recognizing the importance of accessibility as part of our pathway to inclusive education whereby we support the diverse physical and cognitive needs of all of our students,” he said.
The eLearning and Emerging Technologies team offers support to faculty members using Blackboard Ally and has created a webpage with more information, gvsu.edu/elearn/help/ally.