May 2018 Issue



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Education Technology can help make your classes more accessible and inclusive  


Educators often ask themselves: how accessible and inclusive are my course materials? That question is often followed by: how do I make my course materials accessible and inclusive? May17 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD) and in support of #GAAD, eLTI dedicates this issue of its newsletter to educational technology that help offer more inclusive and accessible course information.



Tips and tools to make course materials that are inclusive and accessible  

Whether you use role play, a problem or project-based approach on your courses, Blackboard (Bb) expands your options to reach students. Using Blackboard, you can present content in visual (videos), audio (lecture recordings) or electronic formats (documents and/or presentation slides) and offer students anytime, anywhere access, be it on their mobile devices or personal computer. 

If you want to add audio to lecture slides, you can use Camtasia. This handy tool allows you to record your voice over any document. For tips  on how to use Camtasia, see eLTI newsletter of March 2017.  


The educational value of videos to support accessible and inclusive learning lies in their ability to seamlessly combine text (subtitles), audio and images. By adhering to principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), videos can help enhance the learning experience for students with diverse needs (auditory, visual and/or linguistic).


Ensuring that the documents you share on Blackboard are AODA compliant has become easier. Since January 2018, Blackboard is equipped with Ally – an assistive tool that assesses accessibility of documents and provides users with a range of corrective options and formats. For tips on how to use Ally, see eLTI newsletter from January 2018.


George Brown College, through Accessibility, offers a number of resources to ensure that the College is an accessible institution that meets the needs of its diverse population. These include: AODA guidelines, Digital Accessibility policy and tutorials on Accessible Information and Communication.   


Education technology can complement in-class activities and provide multiple additional access points learners. 


If you need help designing or making your course content more inclusive and accessible, come to the eLTI department  or call us at 416-415-5000 ext. 4706. The instructional designers are here to help you develop a new course on Bb, and our developers can help create multimedia objects including videos, interactive activities, infographics and much more! eLTI offers one-on-one Blackboard Support to address individual needs, as well as regular group training open to everyone – see options and availability on Cornerstone Learning Calendar.  





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Dear eLTI


Q: For the past four months, I have seen a red/green-coloured meter icon appear next to my documents on Blackboard. Can you tell me what that is?


A: The icon you see is a graphic representation of the accessibility assessment of the document performed by Ally. Ally is a tool in Blackboard that helps instructors gauge the accessibility of documents they post. Ally also provides advice and suggestions on how to make documents more accessible using a variety of formats.


 Q: I am using Ally and I have changed my documents to make them more accessible. I am wondering if I have to re-do the work when I copy my course for the new semester?


A: You do not have to worry about re-doing the work to make your documents accessible. Blackboard Ally will preserve the alternative formatted documents and the suggestions provided. However, if you add new documents or make changes to the previous documents, you will need to make them accessible. 






Tech Tips


Digi Know

Steps to backup DEV course

  • Go to your DEV course FIRST
  • In the Control Panel, click on Packages and Utilities, then Export/Archive Course.
  • SELECT COURSE MATERIALS - Select all the boxes beside what you need to back
  • Click Submit
  • After clicking Submit, the following message will appear at the top of the screen. The message informs you that you will receive an e-mail when the process is complete. This process may take several minutes to an hour. 







We Want to Hear From You!

How do you use educational technologies? If you want to be featured in an issue of our newsletter or have comments to share with us, send an email to



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