Accessibility Tools and Resources at UM

Defining Accessibility

Functional Definition of Accessibility described in body

The Office of Civil Rights provides a functional definition of accessibility in education: Accessibility is providing students the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as students without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use fully, equally, and independently.

Introducing Blackboard Ally

  • Tool in Blackboard to improve accessibility of course content
    • Accessibility Scores
    • Guides for improving accessibility
    • Course Accessibility Report
    • Alternative Formats
  • Benefits for students and instructors
    • Students have access to alternate formats.
    • Instructors see scores, guidance, course reports, and alternative formats to guide accessibility improvements.

Accessibility Scores

4 color coded gauges that show low, middle, high, and perfect scores

Course Accessibility Report

Screen shot of course accessibility report

Alternate Formats

screen shot of alternative formats windows

  • Meets students’ diverse learning and access needs.
  • Requires no additional effort from the instructor.
  • Availability depends on source document type.
  • Instructor can remove access to alternative formats if necessary.







Ally Usage in Spring 2022

pie chart showing 73.7% of courses have materials accessed via alternative format downloads
Students have downloaded 29,429 files and launched the alternative formats window 42,685 times
Pie chart showing Tagged PDF as the most popular alternative format with over 19 thousand downloads. OCRed PDF, HTML, Braille, BeeLine downloads are also shown, but represent a much smaller subset of total downloads.
Total instructor engagement shows 96 course accessibility report launches and 2119 instructor feedback launches. Productive engagement values are 60 and 1170 respectively.
Courses with fixes total 104 and total fixes is 790 items

Trainings Offered

  • Top 10 Accessibility Best Practices
  • Accessible Word Documents
  • Accessible PowerPoint Presentations
  • Captioning Overview
  • Blackboard Accessibility 
  • Word Press Accessibility Basics
  • Accessible HTML Documents
  • Adobe Acrobat Accessibility

Training offerings can be combined and customized to meet the needs of a group or department.

Request Training for Your Team