Ally Universal Design and Accessibility Tool

What is Ally?

Ally is a tool that can help faculty create, check and improve the universal design and accessibility of their course documents. The tool integrates into your Canvas course shell. Ally generate alternative formats for students and assesses the accessibility of course documents and provides feedback and instructions to help make your documents universally designed and accessible for all.

Video: Student David Dumas Talks About the Future of Learning and the Ally Universal Design and Accessibility Tool (1:45min).


What Do Students Think About Ally?

Between Spring 2018 and Spring 2020, SDSU piloted the Ally system with over 7,500 students. These students were given the opportunity to use Ally's alternative formats to access and study course documents and files. See student reactions below:

“Listening while reading helps me retain the information. I have ADHD so reading on my own is difficult which is why I like to have it read to me alongside. “

“Listening to an audio of the text makes it easier for me to fully understand what the text is saying because English is not my first language.”

“Thank you! As someone who is dyslexic it can be really tough sometimes. Having software that reads to me is very helpful.” 

“I'm a commuter, and my home life is pretty noisy, so having an audio file of a material would probably help me concentrate.”

“Allowing us to listen to the material can be very helpful because I commute, so it would be helpful if I could listen to the material while I drive to or from the school.“

Read more about the pilot

Alternative Formats for Student Success!

Ally can generate alternative formats of your documents for you and students. This ability to choose a format not only makes it easier for individuals with disabilities to access with assistive technologies (such as a screen reader or brailler), it also provides support for all students, allowing them to “read” materials in a way that best suits their learning preferences and needs.

Video: How Ally Can Help You Offer Course Materials in Alternative Formats (1:00 min).

Formats the Ally can generate include:

  • Tagged PDFs
  • HTML (web format)
  • ePub (for ebook readers)
  • Electronic Braille
  • Audio MP3s
  • Beeline Reader
  • Language Translations

More information about alternative formats


Get Started Using Ally in Your Course

Jon Rizzo - Instructional Materials Design Specialist - gives tips on how to get started with Ally.

Faculty Resources

Immediate Help - ITS Virtual FIT Center. Meet with our ITS Virtual Consultants M-F 8am - 4:30pm

Submit a Trouble Ticket to ITS Staff: Here is a job aid on How to Submit an Incident to the ITS Help Desk in ServiceNow and How-to video tutorial.

Instructor FAQs

Student Resources

The Library Computing Hub

The Student Ability Success Center

Student FAQs