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Moodle Accessibility

Moodle, UCL’s Virtual Learning Environment 

Every taught module at UCL has a Moodle course (that might cover an entire programme). These courses are expected to meet the UCL E-Learning Baseline, which includes meeting accessibility standards. 

Moodle allows you to hide the blocks to minimise clutter and switch from standard view (good for reading) to full screen mode (good for viewing the Gradebook). You can also dock blocks to the left of the page (using the top, right icon in every block) for easy access whenever you need them. Docked blocks will remain in place as you scroll up and down the page. 

Moodle can also be viewed on mobile devices, however, not all the functionality is available in mobile view. You can switch to desktop view by choosing ‘request desktop site’ in your mobile browser settings and then zoom in and out to access all Moodle features. 

Moodle at UCL now has three new accessibility tools.

Blackboard Ally

UCL has acquired a new technology called Blackboard Ally that runs within Moodle to provide alternative file formats for students and accessibility guidance for staff. Ally will be available for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Ally uses machine learning to convert the files uploaded to Moodle into alternative file formats. Students will be able to choose to download a file from Moodle in its original format or an alternative format for example as an Mp3 audio file, braille formatted file, or tagged PDF. Alternative formats will only be as accessible as the original source file. You should therefore always ensure you follow best practice when creating your original file.

Additionally, Ally provides staff with an accessibility score and guidance for common files already on Moodle and new files as they are uploaded. Ally's guidance should be used in conjunction with the guidance provided by Digital Education.

Visit UCL's staff guide on Blackboard Ally to find out more.

Moodle Accessibility Toolbar

Students and staff are able to customise the appearance of the Moodle platform to suit their needs, including by changing the colour scheme, font style, readability and text size.

Any changes you make will store in your profile for the next time you access the site.

To customise your preferences, simply be logged onto Moodle and:

  1. Click on your name on the top right of Moodle to open up the user menu.
  2. Select Accessibility Tool

screenshot of moodle toolbar

Quickscan Screening Software

UCL ISD has launched a trial of Quickscan a screening program that will ask the user approximately 100 questions about themselves. 

As a result of the way they answer, they will be given a report which will tell them about their preferred learning style. The purpose of this assessment is to enable them to know more about the way they learn in order to help with their studies. It breaks down categories of learning into visual learners, auditory learners and kinaesthetic learners and it is possible to use two or even three learning styles equally well (multisensory learners).

The report will tell users if they require any further support for their studies. This may take the form of help in study skills or basic skills. It will indicate if there is 'visual stress'. This may be helped by using a coloured overlay when reading or changing the background colour when using a computer. The report will also show whether there are any dyslexia or dyspraxia tendencies.

It can be found under the Staff Help and Student Help Menus from within Moodle.

The availability of this feature follows on from Digital Education's efforts to improve the accessibility of the Moodle platform. Digital Education has also been working hard to provide training and support to teachers to improve the accessibility of their teaching resources on Moodle through staff training and rolling out the new accessibility tool Blackboard Ally. Look for more improvements in the future, and if you have any questions please contact Digital Education at digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.