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Changes often force us to adapt in ways we’ve never experienced, which can be a major driver of personal (and even professional) growth and development.

Ally for Students

Your instructor probably has many different pieces of content in your course. Ally is an external tool that supports universal access by automatically checking for accessibility issues in files added to Canvas and generating alternative accessible versions in multiple formats. Ally can help create content that is more usable, more accessible, and of higher quality to improve student success. 

Accessibility refers to the design of products and environments for people with disabilities. Examples include wheelchairs, entryway ramps, hearing aids, and braille signs. In the IT world, accessibility often describes hardware and software designed to help those who experience disabilities.

What are Alternative Formats?
Ally Student View of Alt Formats

Ally's alternative format iconAlly creates alternative formats for course content items. You can download the alternative formats anywhere you see Ally's alternative formats download icon. Just choose the version of the original that is best for your needs!

  • OCR PDF: OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. The OCR PDF alternatives are created when the original content is a PDF of an image. OCR technology analyses the content and converts the image into searchable text.
  • tagged PDF: students who need to access files on devices without MS Office or who need a smaller file size because of bandwidth issues can download PDFs.
  • audio: students with processing challenges and non-native speakers who benefit from "bimodal presentations" can download the audio (MP3) file to read and listen at the same time. They can also listen on the go for flexible study options. 
  • electronic braille: students who use BRF file versions for electronic braille displays
  • ePub: students can download the eBook and access on Reader (iPad, Kindle, etc) devices without internet.
  • HTML: students who reply on mobile devices can convert PDF files to HTML which is responsive to small screens and easier, faster reading. 
  • BeeLine Reader: students with reading focus challenges like dyslexia or who just need to read faster on screen.

NOTE: If the original file is NOT already accessible...the alternative formate may not be useable. Meaning - a poor PDF image when OCR'ed would create a bad text file, a bad HTML file, bad audio, bad ePub..etc. Garbage in - Garbage out. 

This would mean that the faculty would still need to fix the original file so that the alternative works for you. Some faculty may not know that the alternative format is not working, so please let your faculty know. 

Learn more >

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