Ally is a tool which will provide extra accessibility support for students and staff when using or uploading learning materials within Learn. It will allow students to download alternative formats of those materials and provides staff with advice on how to make those materials more accessible when uploading them.
Why is accessibility important?
The University is committed to accessibility and creating an environment that enables anyone to participate fully in mainstream university life. This includes making our teaching resources and use of learning technology as accessible as possible.
Find out how to use learning technology to help ensure your courses are more inclusive and accessible: Learning technology and accessibility.
What Is Ally?
Ally will be automatically available in any Learn Ultra Courses created after the 28th of April 2023 and builds on the accessibility support we already provide with the following functionality:
- Allowing students to access alternative formats of materials, where helpful;
- Offering staff feedback on the accessibility of some aspects of their materials and guidance on how to make improvements;
- Producing course-level and also institutional-level insight on the accessibility of course materials to help identify improvement areas.
View our video on Media Hopper Create which provides an overview of Ally.
- Video: Intro to ally
- Introduction to Ally
Accessibility is not something we can fix with a tool - widening access requires all of us to consider the materials we are using, who may be trying to use them, and how we can make that content accessible to those people. Ally can, however, provide some assistance to help us by:
- Flagging where there may be issues;
- Providing users with tools which may mitigate some of the accessibility issues we have (particularly in older content);
- Giving us a sense of how course staff are improving the accessibility of course materials year-on-year but also how much we are, as an institution, improving the accessibility of our content year-on-year.
- Will not automatically make your teaching material more accessible, or eliminate the need for human intervention;
- May miss accessibility issues (for example, it doesn't quality check your image alternative tags);
- Is far more useful to students in creating alternative formats if the original format of the file is accessible.
LaTeX and Accessibility
"It was saddening but somewhat validating to learn that the problem of accessibility in LaTeX is one which has been plaguing the community for years – it’s maintained by a team of volunteers who have struggled to implement features which are becoming standard in electronic documents."
LaTeX and Accessibility is a blog written by Lewis Forbes, an ISG Intern who has spent their internship exploring the options available for LaTeX users to create more accessible documents. LaTeX is a widely used, but largely inaccessible way of formatting and creating teaching content. In the blog Lewis shows real examples and suggestions on how to improve your LaTeX content to make it more accessible for students and other users.
Find out more
For further information please see the Ally Accessibility Checklist on the Anthology website.