Blackboard Ally

Bowdoin is committed to making learning environments accessible to all students.

This includes files and documents uploaded to Blackboard. In support of this effort, a new tool—Blackboard Ally—is now available in Blackboard for all courses.

What Does Bb Ally do?

  • Most importantly, it provides students with the choice to download accessible alternative file formats such as audio and electronic braille for files in Blackboard.
  • Identifies accessibility issues in files based on WCAG 2.1 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
  • Reports back how to improve the accessibility of files if there are any issues.
  • Provides a way to re-upload the file once changes have been made.
Blackboard Ally

Join us and learn more about making files more accessible in your courses.

Blackboard Ally Workshops


Jennifer Snow, Academic Technology and Consulting, IT

Juli Haugen, Academic Technology and Consulting, IT

Do all my files have to be 100% accessible right away?

No! We know this will be a challenge—Bowdoin faculty have hundreds of files in Blackboard—and every little bit helps. Just by having Blackboard on in your class, students will benefit from being able to download files in a format of their choosing. We would love to increase the percentage of accessible files in Backboard and can help!

What Will Faculty See?

In your course, you will see an icon (a gauge) next to your files. The gauge displays the degree to which each file meets accessibility guidelines. Click on the icon next to a file for information about the issue and how to make that file more accessible.

Note: Students do not see the Ally gauge icon on your files.

Video: Blackboard Ally Overview

What Will Students See?

Ally offers several different formats of an original file (e.g. audio, electronic braille, HTML, and tagged PDF) so that students can use the version best suited to their learning. They will see a drop-down menu next to the file and can choose from the “Alternative Formats” option.

If your students have questions or are curious to learn more about Ally and accessibility, they can visit “Ally for LMS Help for Students”

How to Use Blackboard Ally.

How To Get Help

  1. Visit the BOLT website for Blackboard Ally workshops.
  2. Contact Jennifer Snow or Juli Haugen