Staff: check documents and presentations for accessibility

It’s now easy to make sure your documents and presentations meet accessibility standards using Moodle (Blackboard Ally).

Use Moodle (Blackboard Ally) to check files

Within Moodle there's a tool called Blackboard Ally that runs behind the scenes to check the accessibility of any resources uploaded. 

Why it's important: what Blackboard Ally is and what it does (video)

What it does

  • Checks how accessible a document is and gives you a score
  • Tells you how to fix any accessibility issues it finds
  • Then re-checks your document showing any remaining issues until all are fixed

To use it, follow the steps below.

How to get acess to Blackboard Ally

Use it for teaching modules

Ally is enabled in all Moodle modules for teaching, so you have automatic access. Go to step 1 for how to use it in Moodle

Use it to check accessibility of any document (not just teaching)

To use it to check accessibility of any document, create a training module (even if you've never used Moodle before):

  • Choose Click here to create a Training Module (top of the page)
  • Name your module and give it a short name (leave the rest as they are)
  • Scroll down and choose Save and Display
  • From the front page of your module, if asked, choose start fresh

Log into Moodle training site with your Kent IT Account.  

If you've already got access to a module, you should see your module in "My Modules List" on the front page of Moodle Training. If you're a first time Moodle user, you'll need to log out and re-login to see the modules they've been added to.  

1. Add a file to check its accessibility

Turn editing on

To add files, you must first turn editing on within your module:

  • click the actions menu (cog icon) in the top right of the page
  • choose Turn editing on (the page will refresh)
  • then drag and drop files onto your page from your computer.

2. View its accessibility score

Once you’ve added a file or resource to your Moodle module, Blackboard Ally starts to analyse the uploaded file. 

It takes a few minutes to work

Wait a few minutes and then refresh the browser page: once it's ready, you'll see next to the resource a mini speedometer icon which will be red, amber or green. It can take up to 15 minutes the first time you upload a document to your module, but less than 5 minutes thereafter for other documents.

Speedometer icon indicating the accessibility score and report is available

3. View and fix issues

Click on the speedometer icon next to your file to see a pop-up window with the accessibility score.

If accessibility issues are found it gives you advice on how to improve the file and how to upload a new version for checking.

4. Be loud and proud

You can now format your next document correctly from the start so fewer issues may be highlighted next time. Bask in the glory of a new skill learnt!

Enjoy the feel-good factor of doing the right thing. Now it's time to encourage your colleagues to use it!

Add others onto your module

As the module creator, you have convener access on your new module.

To add more users:

  • click Participants from the left menu in your module
  • click Enrol Users (top of the page that lists other fictitious users)
  • search for the surname of the user you want to add and pick them from the list so their name is shown at the top of the window
  • assign them a Teacher role so they can upload files
  • click Enrol selected users and cohorts.

5. Data protection advisory note

  • Please be aware that content in Moodle training is visible to Moodle administrators so there are privacy implications for documents which need to remain confidential.
  • Please do not store documents which have GDPR sensitive information about individuals in Moodle training.  You can check documents using this process but should immediately delete them once you have the accessibility feedback.

Help and support

More about Blackboard Ally

Support at Kent

Ally is being supported jointly by Student Support and Wellbeing and the eLearning team. If you have any questions relating to Ally please contact:

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