Overview of Ally in ELMS-Canvas for Instructors

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Improving the accessibility and usability of your course content

Ally is an ELMS-Canvas integration that automatically scans course content for common accessibility issues and provides feedback to help you gauge the overall accessibility of your course. Ally also provides step-by-step guidance for fixing issues that may affect student access to content in your course.


Accessibility indicator

Ally scans your course content and assigns an “accessibility indicator.” Based on the score, your content will show an accompanying colored dial. Red dials appear for files that have 0-33% accessibility score; yellow for 34-66%; light green for 67-99%; and dark green for 100%. The accessibility indicator is never visible to students.

Ally’s accessibility indicator score is based on the number of issues found in elements responsible for making a document, image, or video accessible to people who use screen readers, are hearing impaired, or have other disabilities. Some of the things Ally looks for are PDF documents that are scanned OCRed so screen readers can read it; images have alternative-text (alt-text) that will provide people using screen readers meaningful information about the contents of the image; and that captions are present in videos embedded in your course.

Learn more about the Accessibility Scores in Ally.


Instructor feedback

Ally also provides guidance on how to fix these issues. Selecting an accessibility indicator score opens up a detailed description of the issue and walks you through the steps to fix it. For example, if an image is missing a description, opening the accessibility indicator for this item displays a new window that explains the issue and includes a space where you can enter an image description for this image or mark it as decorative.

More information is available in the video Ally Instructor Feedback: Canvas LMS.


Course accessibility report

The course accessibility report can be found in the course navigation menu but is never visible to students. The report provides an overview of the course content and options to start fixing items that are either easiest to fix, or those with the closest scores. Selecting the start button allows you to begin addressing the accessibility issues found in the scan of course content.

Learn more about the Course Accessibility Report in Ally or watch the video Ally Course Accessibility Report: Canvas LMS.


Alternative formats

Alternative formats allow all students to meet the same learning objectives using resources that are built to target the needs of the individual student. For example, Ally can create audio and electronic braille alternatives for students with visual impairments. But alternative formats aren't just for a select group of students. Alternative formats benefit everyone.

Select the Download Alternative Formats icon wherever you see it to download the content in a different format. Choose the version that is best for your needs!

Ally provides alternative formats for these content types:

These alternative formats can be generated:

Learn more about Alternative Formats in Ally.


More information

For more information about Ally in ELMS-Canvas, visit the Ally for LMS Help for Instructors page. For more information about making your ELMS-Canvas course more accessible, contact itaccessibility@umd.edu.