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Tuesday, May 29 • 1:15pm - 2:00pm
Blackboard Ally: Accessibility Training, and Remediation, and Tracking

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Blackboard Ally seamlessly integrates into various Learning Management Systems to improve accessibility of digital course content and track progress made over time. Ally promotes accessible course design from the start by flagging inaccessible materials and providing feedback and instructions for remediation, in addition to providing alternative formats that best meet students’ individual needs.


In response to recent state and local policies, the Washington State community and technical college system has been working to improve accessibility in all areas, but specifically in the area of online instruction. To help with this effort, the system first piloted Ally with 7 colleges, followed by a system-wide roll-out of the tool.

Ally is integrated in Canvas, allowing faculty to scan their courses for accessibility problem areas. Using Ally’s feedback feature, faculty are given the guidance on how to make their materials more accessible. Additionally, Ally enables faculty and students to download alternative formats for various course materials. From an institutional standpoint, Ally is able to track the improvements and progress made over time.

In this presentation, we’ll demonstrate Ally’s feature set in Canvas and discuss the feedback and experience from faculty, staff, and students involved in the pilots and system-wide roll-out.

Key Points

  • Blackboard Ally can meet the needs of faculty by providing immediate evaluation and guidance on making accessible content.
  • Blackboard Ally can meet the needs of students by allowing them to download the alternative format of their choice. 
  • Blackboard Ally can meet the needs of administration by tracking institutional progress made towards increased accessibility. 

avatar for Nicolaas Matthijs

Nicolaas Matthijs

Product Director, Blackboard
Nicolaas Matthijs is an entrepreneur and product creator with over 10 years of experience in Educational Technology. Nicolaas has worked at several leading R1 institutions such as Cambridge University, UC Berkeley and Georgia Tech, where he developed Learning Management Systems, Academic... Read More →
avatar for Jess Thompson

Jess Thompson

Program Administrator, Accessible Technology Initiatives, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges

Tuesday May 29, 2018 1:15pm - 2:00pm AKDT
Port of San Francisco