Student Course Tools

​DMACC hosts tools within Blackboard that help make materials accessible to all users. 


ReadSpeaker allows the text on a Blackboard page to be read out loud.

  1. The ReadSpeaker icon appears in the lower-left corner of your window when logged in to a course in Blackboard.
  2. ​Click on the ReadSpeaker icon and select the Play or Listen button to get started.​
  3. For more information about the ReadSpeaker player, see the ReadSpeaker Player Features Guide (PDF).
Screenshot showing a red arrow indicating the location of the ReadSpeaker icon. 

ReadSpeaker can also be used to help with writing, and users can install a web extension to read content, such as a webpage, that exists outside of Blackboard. To learn more about these features, currently enrolled students should go to the Blackboard Basics for Students course, which is found in your Courses list in Blackboard. Open the Course Content and navigate to the Other Helpful Blackboard Tools folder, which contains a folder on ReadSpeaker. 

Ally Alternative Formats

When properly tagged, the Blackboard Ally tool automatically generates alternative accessible versions for course content and makes these available to all users within minutes. Note, if the material has not been tagged properly, Ally may not produce alternative formats, and/or the formats may not be accessible.

  1. Click on the Ally Alternative formats button that appears to the right of the attachment name.
  2. From the options provided, choose any or all formats.

  • Tagged PDF: Structural PDF for improved use with assistive technology
  • HTML: For viewing in the browser and on mobile devices
  • ePub: For reading as an e-book on an iPad and other e-book readers
  • Electronic braille: BRF version for consumption on electronic braille displays
  • Audio: MP3 version for listening
  • BeeLine Reader: Enhanced version for easier and faster on-screen reading
Additionally, if you have a document you are working on or have accessed outside of a course and would like to convert it to an accessible format, you can try using the Ally File Transformer (opens in new tab), which is also linked, along with many other DMACC resources, in Blackboard Assist (current students: see the blue menu that appears upon first logging into Blackboard). Keep in mind that the file must be tagged properly to produce an accessible format.​​