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How to Create Accessible Content

It is best to create accessible content in it's original format, but you may not be able to find or have access to the original (doc, ppt, xls). Below you will find videos, workshop, web resources, and strategies for using Ally. 

NOTE: While fixing your items in the Files area with the Ally Accessibility Checker does create accessible files in your current courses… it does NOT copy as an accessible file into your other Canvas shells.

What is Ally  |   Workshops  |   Using Ally  |  Ally Copy Tips  |   Bb Ally Support


Workshops, Online Courses & Web Resources 

Blackboard Ally Support

Strategies for Using Ally

tip Make sure to read the tips for fixing content that will copy into your future courses. 

1) Using Ally to Fix Course Content

Learn More: Ally Quick Start >

2) Accessibility Report Menu: Easiest Issues

  1. Click on the Accessibility Report link in the course menu on the left.
  2. Fix easy issues and low scoring content first. Click on the Start button in the Content with the easiest issues to fix box. 
    Ally's Accessibility Report
    - Video Tutorials: Add ALT Text to Images in Canvas & Using Ally to Fix Inaccessible Word Documents
    Learn More: Accessibility Scores > 

3) Delete Old Files from Canvas: 

Canvas will not show you if the file is used in this course. If you deleted a file you needed or do not have a copy of the file in your personal storage area, you can retrieve deleted files from Canvas. From the Home button - add "/undelete" to the end of the URL and click on your Return/Enter key. You may also want to download files before deleting them from Canvas. 

  1. Click on the Files menu on the left to access all files in your Canvas course. Select the files you would like to delete and click on the Delete button. 
    Deleting old files from canvas
    Ally flags all files within a course, even ones no longer being used. 
    - Video Tutorial: Deleting Old Files in Canvas

4) View All Content Scores

  1. From the Accessibility Report on the left, click on the Content tab to view all issues with lowest scores listed first. 
    Ally's Content tab
  2. Click on the issue Score Dial on the right to see a step-by-step list and instructions for fixing that item. 

Important Note About PDF's

Inaccessible PDF files, including scanned documents, are more challenging to fix unless you created the original source file yourself, such as a Word document.

If you have the original DOC file, you can fix in in Microsoft Word. Learn more about creating accessible files in Microsoft Word.

If you have the original file PDF file, you can fix it in Adobe Acrobat. Learn more about creating accessible files with Adobe Acrobat (download DOC)

If you do not have the original file, you can try SenusAccess to fix it, but it may be easier to find a different alternative accessible version. 

Search for alternative accessible content to replace inaccessible PDFs that you did not author. The Cal Poly Kennedy Library has a plethora of accessible documents, textbooks and resources for faculty and students, including OneSearchLinks, Course ReservesDigital Commons, and Databases

Create a Plan for Improvement

  1. After fixing your content, view your Course Accessibility Score again and not the change. Fixing ALT, removing old files and replacing scanned PDF's will improve the score quickly.
  2. Create a work plan to fix existing inaccessible content in your course. Put aside time each week to work on items. 
  3. Include an Accessibility Statement in your syllabus, with links to the Cal Poly DRC services, and the Ally support for students: webpage & video. You may also be interested in the Cal Poly Syllabus temple in the Commons you can add to your course and edit. 


tip Create Accessible Files that Copy into Future Course Shells

Depending on the file types and where they are located, please see the different recommendations below. 


  • Do not use the Files menu to fix images - ALT descriptions. These do not copy to future courses. Please use the Accessibility Report tools or the Canvas Page tools to add ALT descriptions. 
  • If you have the original or creating an original file, start there. Make the file accessible in that software and upload the accessible version into Canvas. This will copy into all courses as an accessible file. More about Accessible Documents: Online self-paced / Accessible Documents & Presentations.  
  • If you do not have the original and used Ally’s tools to fix the file. Then export the fixed accessible version of the file. Delete it from Canvas and RE-UPLOAD the fixed accessible version back into the course. This will copy into other courses as an accessible file.
  • SensusAccess is a self-service, alternate media solution made available by Kennedy Library to automatically convert files into a range of alternate media including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille. The service can make some improvements to the file, but will not create a fully accessible version for image-only (scanned) PDF files, JPG pictures, and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.




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