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Ally for Canvas Update

What is Ally?

Ally is a tool which has been integrated with Canvas to raise awareness of the accessibility of common files that are uploaded to Canvas and to provide guidance on how such issues could be addressed.  Ally scans the content and then generates an accessibility score and you will see a small dial icon next to the content which shows you how accessible the content is at a glance.  This information is only available to staff enrolled on the Canvas course and is not visible to students. 

Ally enables students (and staff) to download alternative formats of the content, e.g. audio, tagged PDFs, HTML and electronic braille and this is the only interaction students have with Ally. They do not see accessibility scores and indicators, the built-in accessibility guidance or course reports. 

Why have we introduced Ally? 

In line with our commitment to providing inclusive and accessible education opportunities, the University is committed to continuing to improve the accessibility of our online materials for all students.  Making Ally available to help identify common accessibility issues, and to develop support materials to further support colleagues, is one part of our approach to meeting this commitment.  The full range of steps being taken, and support provided, is summarised on the Digital Learning website at

It is also the case that the introduction of the Public Sector Bodies accessibility legislation which has been introduced in phases since 2018 means that Universities have to make improvements to the information provided on websites and the Virtual learning Environment (Canvas). 

Is there a baseline accessibility score for a Canvas course? 

No, there is no baseline score for each course as any accessibility issues must be looked at in context. Colleagues can use the course reports and individual content indicators to build up a picture of the accessibility of their course content and in many cases a few simple steps (such as using alt-text for images) can have a really big impact on the accessibility score. 

Further information on Ally can be found on the Ally section of the Canvas website and the staff FAQ and student FAQ pages.

Last modified: Wed, 04 Nov 2020 08:51:42 GMT