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An Ally in Canvas

from the desk of Buddy Hall, resident Canvas expert in UK Online

To support our commitment to a more inclusive campus, we’re excited to introduce a new tool called Ally into Canvas courses to help improve the accessibility of course content. Ally doesn’t change how anything works in your course, and it won’t affect your course files.

You’ll notice in your course red, orange, light green, and dark green gauges next to your course files. These are “Ally Indicators” and they let you know the accessibility of the file. The indicators are only visible to instructors in the course. Simply click the indicator to read detailed feedback about what the accessibility issues are with the file, why they matter, and how to fix them. Watch a one-minute video about Ally Indicators.

Improving the accessibility of your course content will not only help ensure students with disabilities can access your materials, it will also improve the learning experience for students who use mobile devices as well as who want to engage with the material in a different way. Ally automatically generates “alternative formats” of your course files, and makes them available to you and your students by clicking the dropdown icon next to the file name. The alternative formats don’t affect your original file, and allow students to access an HTML version for their phone, an ePub version for their tablet, an MP3 version for audio, and electronic braille for braille readers. Read more about alternative formats.

We hope you will take some first steps in using Ally to improve the accessibility of your course content, as well as encourage students to take advantage of the alternative formats. If you have questions or need help fixing an accessibility issue with one of your files, please visit us during our drop-in hours this semester Tuesdays from 2-4pm or Wednesdays from 10am-12pm in room 502 of the King Science & Engineering Library. If you need an alternative time, contact us at elearning@uky.edu. We’re happy to help!