Ally, an application embedded through Moodle, allows students to use alternative file formats such as PDF, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, and audio. Ally also provides translation of Moodle announcements and assignments in 50 foreign languages. Additionally, file recovery assistance is available to professors whose files may not be readily accessible.
Katerina Teruel, a senior communications major with a concentration in PR, has been able to work alongside the Director of the Coastal Office of Online Learning, Sherri Restauri, to become familiarized with Ally. Teruel has used this platform for some classes since she has learned about the online feature. She admits not having seen the icon for Ally on Moodle in the past; she assumed if her professor did not mention Ally then it was not anything to worry about. Teruel even brought it to a few of her professors’ attention.
“I feel like whenever I bring it up to professors, they typically don’t... know what I am talking about; maybe they have a lack of knowledge about it,” she said.
She wonders if already-formed curriculums are scheduled too tightly for time to engage with this new helpful system. Teruel proposes that students explore Ally and see how it could improve study habits or increase accessibility.
“Play around with Ally,” Teruel said, “it doesn’t hurt; it’s right there on Moodle and it’s free.”
Kelly A. Parnell, Online Learning Systems Administrator, was able to expand on the knowledge that Ally offers. Parnell is familiar with the Moodle as an online management system, and she works to integrate other tools for students at Coastal Carolina University.
“Ally is an accessibility tool which means that it is integrated writing on Moodle and anytime a faculty member uploads any type of document; Ally scans it to make sure it is compliant, and if it is not, then it alerts the faculty member,” she said. “Part of the Ally tool is giving students an option to download in a variety of alternative formats.”
Parnell says the MP3 option is the most used format among scholars because it allows them flexibility to listen on the go. Another feature she highlighted was,
“ePub, which is for your Kindles and iPads; you can actually go into a document and make digital notations to an article or file that is uploaded.”
Parnell wishes for faculty to promote Ally to students so they know it is available as a resource. She encourages professors to use it for themselves as well because it is a learning tool for everyone.