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Using Blackboard Ally to improve learning content accessibility

Over the past few years, CTEL have been working to improve the accessibility of learning content, by reviewing current practices and implementing suitable solutions. Blackboard Ally is one plugin solution that automatically assesses accessibility requirements against content uploaded onto KEATS and advises the uploader (usually a member of teaching staff) on how to make their content more accessibility friendly.
Blackboard Ally also allows students to download alternative formats of uploaded files (such as MS Word documents or PowerPoint files) to support their learning needs, assisting King's in meeting its legal obligations set out in the UK's The Public Sector Bodies (Website and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations (2018). Awareness raising sessions offered by CTEL prior to the site-wide launch of Blackboard Ally prepared and introduced academic staff to the upcoming switch-on, prompting a large uptake and engagement with the software when launched. Since being delivered in September 2020:
  • Over 230,000 alternative formats of uploaded files have been downloaded.
  • Approx. 6000 fixes have been made to make content more accessible for students.
  • The overall Blackboard Ally accessibility score for KEATS is currently 81%.
  • Content uploaded to KEATS is approx. 14% more accessible in 2021-22 than in 2019-20.

Further reading

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Our Impact

CTEL's impact stories on the wider King's community.