IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Canvas LMS News

11/20/2018

Introducing Ally: Accessible formats for course files

Ally, provided by Blackboard, generates alternative formats of course files uploaded by instructors—such as text that is readable by a screen reader, electronic braille, or audio—that students can download and use to support their learning.

Ally’s alternative formats feature is now available in all Canvas courses. To make course content easily accessible to all students, Ally converts files to formats that work better for everyone, not just those with particular learning requirements. For example, some students may prefer to listen rather than read. Ally provides audio conversions of text-based files. Or some students may need an electronic braille format or a format that is more easily used by a screen reader. Ally alternative formats are designed to make course content more accessible to everyone.

New features and updates

Newly added LTI tools available for all courses

  • Office 365 LTI  This LTI tool offers integration with Microsoft Office 365 in Assignments, Collaborations, Modules, and the Rich Content Editor. Students and instructors can use, create, share, and collaborate on Office 365 files within Canvas. Providing an easy selection and embedding of files from OneDrive, students can submit files from OneDrive. Using the Office 365 LTI instructors can also share a template for student assignments. Prefer Google to Office 365? A Google LTI to use with Canvas will be released in winter quarter 2019.
  • GALE virtual reference library  Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is a collection of over 60 Reference eBooks that can be cross-searched, browsed, and viewed on your e-reader. Now you can make the GVRL available to students directly in your course; just make the GVRL visible in the course navigation.

Newly released features from Canvas

  • Anonymous grading  Graders cannot identify students associated with each submission that helps remove grading bias. When anonymous grading is enabled in a course, content creators can create assignments with the option to hide student names from graders.
  • Non-scoring rubrics  Rubrics can be created without point values to create a non-scoring rubric. This feature promotes learning engagement by helping students focus on assignment feedback instead of point values.
  • Analytics BETA  An all new course analytics tool that provides average course grade analytics, comparisons for selected assignments, sections, or students, and the ability to message students individually or based on specific criteria. You can opt-in to the analytics beta by adding it to your course navigation in course settings. Analytics is visible only to instructors, TAs, and admins.

Reminder: End-of-quarter checklist

The end-of-quarter checklist provides pointers for wrapping up your Canvas course: submitting grades, conducting an inventory of course content for use in a future session, exporting course content, and marking the course read-only for students. And because quarters come and go so quickly, you may want to check out the start-of-quarter UW Canvas checklist.