Giving students their choice of formats: Blackboard Ally and Kaltura Reach
JUNE, 2020

Digital Learning
Teaching & Learning
Learning Innovations

From the beginning of Trimester 2, two exciting tools will be integrated into D2L and DeakinAir that will significantly, automatically, increase the accessibility of a large portion of learning resources. These are Kaltura Reach and Blackboard Ally.

Kaltura Reach

Kaltura Reach automatically adds machine-generated captions and transcripts to video on DeakinAir. The captions have 75%-85% accuracy and are usually created within 30 minutes. New videos in DeakinAir will automatically be captioned. Captions and transcripts can also be requested for existing video.

Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally will be integrated into the new D2L. It allows students to access alternative formats or translations of resources in the unit site with the click of a button next to each resource. Formats include audio, HTML, Word, tagged PDF, ePub, Beeline Reader or electronic braille. Students can also translate documents into 50 languages.



Blackboard Ally is also an important digital accessibility education tool for teachers and designers. It automatically checks resources in unit sites against WCAG2.1 standards and produces an accessibility score for each file. Teachers/designers can then follow customized, step-by-step guidance to fix any accessibility issues identified. Overall accessibility of whole unit sites is scored, and issues are listed issues in order of severity. The CloudDeakin Support Team can also provide faculty, school and course-level reports to enable support staff to target professional development and support effectively.


Comments from students trialling Ally 

  • ‘I work as a cab driver and given that I spend a lot of time in the driver’s seat I feel that I’m losing on time for my studies. I believe the audio format will be of great help as I will be able to multitask.’
  • ‘I’ll use Ally’s BeeLine reader to read documents in multiple colours so I can keep my mind engaged while reading large documents.’
  • ‘With Ally I can convert documents so I can easily ready them on mobile.’
  • ‘As I’m constantly on the quest of saving money, I do not use cellular data to save a few dollars every month. The PDF version will help me view the study content while travelling.’
  • ‘Personally, I love scribbling notes on my iPad rather than using pen and paper. If I can download my course content in PDF format, it will allow me to make and save my notes on my iPad and that’ll be great.’


Register below for a demonstration of Blackboard Ally and Kaltura Reach:


Additional Resources


  • For more information and updates please refer to the Transitioning Teaching Online homepage here and for workshops and events please refer to the What’s On page for DTeach.
  • To access the guide for Blackboard Ally please click here and to access the guide of Kaltura Reach please click here.
  • Accessibility for every learner at Vision Australia
    D2L are hosting a free webinar with Vision Australia guests, Dan Casey, Capability Development Manager and Laura Hendrey, Learning and Development Coordinator to learn more about the importance of accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision and how Brightspace and other technologies improve that experience.
    Date: June 23rd, 2020
    Time: 11:00 AM -12:00 PM AEST
    Duration: 1 hour
    Presenters: Dan Casey (Capability Development Manager for Vision Australia), Laura Hendrey (Learning and Development Coordinator for Vision Australia) and Anthony Leal (Customer Success Manager for D2L)
    Click here to register.
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