Supported Accessibility Tools

Accessibility Criteria

Tennessee House Bill 1857 (Senate Bill 1692) established the need for minimum accessibility criteria for informational materials and related technology used by institutions of higher education. To adhere to the minimum Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.0 A & ADA recommendations provided by the Tennessee Board of Regents to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the following criteria must be met in online courses:

  1. Make sure the content is clearly written and easy to read. There are many ways to make your content easier to understand. Write clearly, use clear fonts, and use headings and lists appropriately.
  2. Provide appropriate document structure. Headings, lists, and other structural elements provide meaning and structure to web pages. They can also facilitate keyboard navigation within the page.
  3. Ensure links make sense out of context. Every link should make sense if the link text is read by itself. Screen reader users may choose to read only the links on a web page. Certain phrases like “click here” and “more” must be avoided.
  4. Provide appropriate alternative text. Alternative text provides access to non-text content (such as images) in web pages. It is especially helpful for people who are blind and rely on a screen reader to have the content of a website read to them.
  5. Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning. The use of color can enhance comprehension, but do not use color alone to convey information. That information may not be available to a person who is colorblind and will be unavailable to screen reader users.
  6. Create accessible data tables. Tables should be used to organize data, not layout, and should use either the “scope” or “header and id” attributes for easier navigation with assistive technology.
  7. Caption and/or provide transcripts for media. Videos must have captions and audio descriptions. A text transcription must accompany all audio files. More on how to caption course media may be found on the OOL’s Closed Captioning page.

The Office of Online Learning is committed to supporting the tools and resources to achieving these accessibility criteria and more information can be found below. Review the OOL’s Accessibility Quick Guide provides a quick overview of basic accessibility formatting standards.

D2L Brightspace Accessibility

Accessibility and Navigation; D2L follows web accessibility standards closely and works with interested clients to test the usability of our products for people with disabilities.

D2L Accessibility Checker

D2L does provide an accessibility checker within the HTML editor for all text and image content within D2L. The icon is located at the bottom right corner of the HTML editor within D2L.

The icon is located at the bottom right corner of the HTML editor within D2L. The second icon from the left with an eye with a checkmark below.
D2L's accessibility checker reviews your added content and looks for the following items:
  • Use of paragraphs as headings
  • Sequential headings
  • Adjacent links
  • Ordered list structure
  • Unordered list structure
  • Contrast ratio of text to background colors
  • Image ALT text
  • ALT text filename
  • Table caption
  • Complex table summary
  • Table caption and summary
  • Table heading scope, markup, and headers

Files and Documents

Accessibility Checklist

The Access Center has developed a checklist that will help walk you through the basics of accessibility for your course materials and content. Please take a moment to review the Accessibility Checklist.

Microsoft Accessibility Checker

Before uploading your document or spreadsheet into D2L, run the Microsoft Accessibility Checker to make sure your Microsoft Office content is easy for people of all abilities to read and edit. This accessibility checker can identify and recommend actions to correct any accessibility errors or warnings.


Nashville State Community College is committed to building more inclusive learning environments through the integration of Ally within D2L. Ally is an innovative tool that makes online course content more accessible for all learners. Accessibility is vital to Nashville State’s strategic plan to promote equitable educational experiences and we should be dedicated to creating a culture of inclusion for all students and not just meet the needs of those with disabilities. The Ally integration in Desire2Learn (D2L) now helps to visualize this strategy as a tool that can automatically scan content and uploaded files (documents, slides, and images) to provide instructors with accessibility “scores” for each file. Ally also provides detailed feedback on accessibility issues, why they matter, and how to fix them. Going green is the goal!

Ally also offers students alternative formats to download content, including Semantic HTML, Tagged PDF, Audio, ePub, and Electronic Braille, among others. Students now have several choices to engage with course content that best suits their individual learning preferences. On a larger scale, accommodating online courses for accessibility does help meet accreditation.

What does the Ally Accessibility Tool do?

Currently, Ally checks for files in these formats:

  • PDF files
  • Microsoft® Word files
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint® files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files
  • Image files (JPG, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF)
  • WYSIWYG/VTBE content (The results for WYSIWYG content only appear in the Institutional Report and Course accessibility report).
  • YouTube videos embedded in WYSIWYG/VTBE content

Ally provides an accessibility “score” seen only by instructors for all files including Word, PDF, PowerPoint, images, etc. in D2L (scores are not visible to students). This tool also provides helpful information on revising accessibility issues. One advantage Ally allows for ALL students is the option to download files in alternative formats including; Tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, Electronic Braille, Audio Versions.

Ally Score Icons

Score's Range from Low to Perfect. The higher the score the fewer the issues.

Instructor View of Accessibility Icons in D2L

Please note that the indicators are only visible to instructors.

Course dashboard shows accessibility indicator. Scoring icons are color-coded from red, orange, light green, and dark green.
Common issues have to do with formatting headers, tables, slide titles, and the use of tables. Please review the information regarding Ally and associated resources that guide users on locating and addressing accessibility issues.

The Ally accessibility tool is not meant to penalize content within D2L but should be used to identify flagged accessibility issues within online courses and guide educators to creating more inclusive content. A goal for the Office of Online Learning is to provide collaborative support for faculty and staff in meeting goals for quality, accessibility, and inclusiveness for all online courses offered at Nashville State.

Ally Tutorials and Resources

Video Transcription and Closed-Captioning

Kaltura Lecture Capture

Nashville State relies on Kaltura, integrated within D2L, to provide automatic closed captioning to all recorded and imported video content. With Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), an algorithm instantly recognizes the words spoken in your video and provides machine-based captions. This lower fidelity option handles high volumes, fast, while your accessibility compliant captions are being processed. The tool provides immediate access to machine-based captions (85% accuracy or better) and a “Do It Yourself” Captions Editor for increased fidelity. Kaltura offers Machine-based Learning with improved accuracy over time and the ability to customize the glossary. These features address the needs of students with learning disabilities who may need additional tools to help focus on specific content/topics. Kaltura also works with YouTube.


Zoom now provides the ability to record to the cloud to generate and automatic transcription (captions). To record to the cloud and generate automatic transcription (captions), login to, go to “Settings” then the “Recording” tab, and select the box next to “Audio Transcript”. After your meeting ends, Zoom will process both your recording and a transcript. The transcript file will be one of the files available to download from your Recordings area. The OOL has created some Zoom Resources for additional help. You can also download your Zoom recording and upload it to Kaltura if you plan to utilize your video for future semesters.