The Ally plug-in for Moodle was launched in March to support inclusive education by improving the accessibility of content in Moodle. Read more about the purpose of Ally, who it's aimed at, where colleagues can find out more information, and how Ally may change the way you work on the staff intranet below.
1. What is the purpose of Ally?
College aims to capitalise upon numerous advantages of digital learning content: flexibility, portability, reusability, and to mitigate some of the challenges raised by online learning: the digital divide, meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population, varying accessibility of materials. The Ally plug-in for Moodle was identified as key to achieving both of these broad aims.
Ally aims to enhance learner experience by improving the accessibility of Moodle content. Course content can be downloaded on-demand in a range of ‘alternative formats’, which can be used on a variety of devices. This allows learners to engage with course content in a way that works best for them.
Ally automatically checks Moodle course materials against international standards as part of the accessibility requirements for public sector bodies. This provides content creators with an indication of the accessibility of their courses - in the form of an accessibility score for the course overall and of each file.
Ally also provides College with institution-wide content accessibility and engagement data.
2. Who is Ally aimed at?
Ally is aimed at all learners, and all staff who create content for delivery via Moodle.
3. Where can I find out more information about Ally?
There is a dedicated Ally information page on the staff intranet. This provides staff with an overview of the service; what it does and why we need it, as well as links to videos and other supportive content.
4. Where can I access help and support for Ally?
The E-Learning team in Educational Development have created an MS Team Class where academic and professional series staff can seek open, crowdsourced advice.
Staff and students can also contact the E-Learning Team directly with any queries relating to Ally and accessible content design.
5. When can I, my colleagues and students start using Ally?
Now! Ally was ‘soft-launched’ on Moodle 21/22. The reasons for this are twofold: to provide learners with access to the various alternative formats ahead of the examination period, and to provide academic and professional services staff with access to the accessibility reports generated by their Moodle course content.
6. How does Ally change the way I work?
One objective of the ‘soft launch’ of Ally in March is to demystify the concept of accessible course content, and communicate how to best achieve it. The key takeaways for term three are therefore staff awareness of the accessibility of their existing content, how that affects learners and learning, and to understand how Ally can streamline the process of ensuring our students receive the highest quality content. There is no directive to use Ally to correct legacy content, but this can be used to inform and improve future practice. Longer term, Schools are developing adoption plans to identify how best to use and respond to Ally reports.