What Is It?

Ally is a software that integrates into the learning management system Moodle, and focuses on making digital course content more accessible. Ally helps build a more inclusive learning environment and improve the student experience. All content uploaded to Moodle is analyzed, checked against WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards, and creates accessible alternative formats such as audio, ePub and electronic braille. Afterwards, Ally provides how-to guides to improve the accessibility of each item uploaded. 

Why is this useful?

In a recent study, only 4.5 percent of 1,857 accessibility educators consider themselves ‘experts’ on the subject, while 66.1 percent claim to have some understanding,’ and 10.7% say they are ‘not knowledgeable’ (Shinohara et al. 2018). In the United States, roughly 11 percent of students pursuing higher education have at least one disability (Skomsvold 2014), and it was reported in a 2018 European Student Survey (Hauschildt, Gwosc, and Vögtle 2018) that 18 percent of higher education students have a disability or chronic sickness. The results of these studies suggest that training and tools are needed for faculty to help them create accessible digital content. Ally will take the guessing game out of not knowing if your content is properly accessible. Ally will check all content uploaded to Moodle, and even check resource links to make sure they are still working correctly. As Carleton continues with making the IDE plan operational, Ally helps take a step in the right direction with IDE in mind and aligns with Carleton’s IDE Goal 3, “Establish and sustain the resources and practices necessary to provide an equitable environment for all students, staff, and faculty to thrive.” In addition, Moodle with the help of Ally will align with Section508, which states, all federal agencies, and those who receive federal funding, by law are required to develop, maintain and use information and communication technologies that are public-facing to be accessible for people with disabilities.

How to Get Started?

Starting in the Fall 2023 term, Carleton has made Ally available to all courses in Moodle. Even though Ally is available, you will not be able to see it by default. You will need to first turn it on for each individual course in which you wish to use Ally. Then faculty can start using the tool, checking how their uploaded content and content that is directly in Moodle (e.g., Moodle Pages) connects to Ally’s checkpoints (but no content that is linked to via hyperlink). Students, by clicking on the black A, will gain access to alternative file formats that allow for listening to content, reading with different font colors for easier focus, and other specialized options. Supported file formats include pdf, MIcrosoft Word and Powerpoint, OpenOffice/LibreOffice files, uploaded HTML, image files (jpg, jpeg, gif, png, bmp, tiff).


Ally Quick Start for Instructors

Ally Quick Start for Students

Ally’s Accessibility Checklist

Carleton Resource for Students (pdf)

Looking for more information on the alternative formats?

Urgent CARE

Need a quick example or description of how one of our tools can be viewed through CARE?

Not sure what CARE is? Please see this blog post on CARE for more information.

Community: Enabling Ally in your course shows your students that attention is being given to the potential needs of the classroom community. Or department could download alternative formats, and share them on your public-facing website to support community access to materials.

Agency: Students are able choose ways in which they interact with classroom materials through Ally’s alternative formats.

Representation: Because students can independently select and use the format that works best for them, Ally supports discreet access to learning materials. This discretion can be particularly beneficial for students who might otherwise feel stigmatized for needing accommodations, this mitigating one aspect of stereotype threat.

Equal Access: Ally’s primary function is to improve the accessibility of course content, which is critical to ensure equal access, particularly for those with accommodations. Ally also provides feedback to instructors on how to make their digital content more accessible.

Want to help others out with CARE strategies and Ally? Please enter your strategies in the Poll Everywhere section below. As a reminder regarding personal or sensitive information, these will be available to those who visit this site. General content moderation may be on, so your shared strategy responses may be delayed.


Hauschildt, Kristina, Christoph Gwosc, and Eva Maria Vögtle. 2018. Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe: Eurostudent VI 2016-2018; Synopsis of Indicators. 

Shinohara, Kristen, Saba Kawas, Andrew J. Ko, and Richard E. Ladner. 2018. “Who Teaches Accessibility? A Survey of US Computing Faculty.” Paper presented at the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Skomsvold, Paul. 2014. Profile of Undergraduate Students: 2011-12. Web Tables. NCES 2015-167. National Center for Education Statistics.