Blackboard Ally for Courses


Ally is an accessibility tool that is directly integrated with Blackboard. Ally focuses on digital accessibility for students and provides guidance and tips for lasting improvements to your content accessibility. With Ally you can:

  • Receive feedback on the accessibility of your content
  • Improve content accessibility with Ally’s step-by-step instructions

In addition to providing you with insight to your content accessibility, Ally automatically creates alternative versions of your files. This allows students to choose the type of file they want that best suits their needs. While you’re in the process of improving files, students still access alternative copies.

Why use Blackboard Ally?

Your class is full of diverse students with unique learning abilities. Providing them with more accessible original content means they can choose formats that work best for them: HTML for improved reading on mobile phones, Electronic Braille for the visually impaired, and Audio for learning on the go. Ally automatically scans your original content, and performs a series of steps to make them more accessible.

  • Generate alternative formats for students to download
  • Provide accessibility scores
  • Give instructor feedback on how to improve your accessibility score

Note: When you receive any type of accessibility “score” on your content, this acts as a recommendation, not a definitive evaluation. Accessibility scores do not have any effect on courses directly, and only serve to offer guidance to you as an instructor.

Requesting Access to Ally for Your Course

To connect Ally to your Blackboard course, send an email to ithelp@bu.edu requesting that Ally be added to your course site. In the body of the email, provide the course name and/or the course ID that you’d like it added to.

How to tell if Ally is Enabled

When you log in to your Blackboard course, look for the Download Alternative Formats icon (pictured below) next to any supported content in the course. For a list of supported content, visit this page. You’ll the be able to view and download a format that suits your learning needs.

Alternative Formats

Ally creates alternative formats of your course content based on the original. These formats are made available with the original content so students can find everything in one convenient location.

You don’t need to do anything. The alternative formats are created for you. If you want, you can disable alternative formats for any individual content item for whatever reason.

Select the Download Alternative Formats icon anywhere you see it to see the different formats available and to disable them.

Accessibility Scores and Course Accessibility

Ally measures the accessibility of each file attached to your course and shows you at-a-glance how it scores. Scores range from Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues.

  • The red barometer shows the dial leaning left to indicate low accessibility. Low: File is not accessible and needs immediate attention.
  • The orange barometer shows the dial leaning to middle to indicate medium accessibility. Medium: File is somewhat accessible and could use improvement.
  • The green barometer shows the dial leaning right to indicate high accessibility. High: File is accessible but could be improved.
  • The blue barometer shows the dial leaning all the way right to indicate perfect accessibility. Perfect: File is accessible. No improvement needed.

For files with Low to High scores, Ally shows you the issues and gives a step-by-step guide on how to fix them.

Find a file and select the Accessibility score. Follow the steps in front of you to go step-by-step. Select All issues to see every issue in the file and decide what issues to fix first.

Remediating Common Content Accessibility Issues

Additional Tutorials and Opt-Out form

More Support

The IT Help Center will answer any questions you have concerning your Blackboard course site. You can get in touch with us online at www.bu.edu/help/blackboard (or by clicking on the Help button on any screen in Blackboard), by email at ithelp@bu.edu, or by phone at 353-HELP(4357).