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Get Started in Ally with these Quick and Easy Fixes

Looking to improve your course’s Ally Accessibility Score? These four fixes are relatively quick and easy and help get you started on your path to having more accessible course content.

1. Delete/Remove Old Files

We know removing old and unused files from your course can be a little scary at times, but nothing is easier when it comes to improving your overall course score than purging these old – and often inaccessible - files from your course. If you do not have the original files saved somewhere besides Canvas, you can always download the file first before removing the file from your course.

Keep in mind: Any file in your Canvas course will be scored for accessibility, whether it’s published or not.

2. Image Missing a Description

This may seem like an easy fix, and that’s because it is! But being an easy fix doesn’t make it any less important! Any student using assistive reading technology, such as a screen reader, relies on accurate and informative image descriptions to relay what a picture is showing. When writing an image description, it is imperative to not simply insert an image title. An image description should provide a textual alternative to the image so that people with a visual impairment can get an equivalent experience. Descriptions also make it easier for all students to connect the image with the context.

Keep in mind: Missing Descriptions can occur for standalone images or within a document.

3. Document Does Not Have Headings

This one can sometimes be tricky, because a "heading" isn't always a heading. Too often we associate increased text size with headings, when in reality a heading is something that should be created using a program’s (Word, PPT, etc.) styling resources to create. To add headings to a document:

  1. Download your document and open it.
  2. Select the text you want to make a heading.
  3. Select Home (in any MS Office product) and then choose the heading you want from the Styles group.
  4. Save the document with correctly created headings.
  5. Upload that new file to your course.

If the document with missing headings is a PowerPoint presentation, the process can be slightly more complex, but the easy-to-follow directions provided by Ally can help you along the way.

4. This Document is Missing a Title

We told you they would be quick and easy! More often than not, documents are simply titled the same thing as the file name. The problem with that practice is that the file name is usually not very descriptive and can even have no meaning to anyone except the author. This visibility makes it easier to distinguish multiple documents before diving in. Title visibility allows for easier navigation for all students. To add a title you’ll need access to the original document. If the document is a Microsoft document you simply:

  1. Click File.
  2. Under the Properties section on the right-hand side, enter the title in the empty text box.
  3. Save the file.
  4. Upload the saved file to Canvas

5. Bonus Fix: Working with PDFs

While the first four were relatively quick and easy, working with PDFs can be a bit more involved. If the PDF is yours and you have the original document, then simply follow the steps provided when you click the Ally accessibility meter to make updates and then re-upload to Canvas. It becomes more tricky if the PDF is scanned and you do not have the original. But don’t worry, we have help for those too! The first and best solution would be contacting Library Resources to determine if they have access to the original document. Librarians are available to help you find and link to the original and accessible document. This also helps avoid any copyright issues as well! If that isn’t possible, then another potential solution would be making use of Adobe Acrobat’s Export To feature. This feature allows you to export a PDF to Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, an HTML webpage, and more.

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  • 13-Jan-2021
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