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Faculty Center for Learning Development

Introducing New Accessibility Tools for Faculty and Staff

As part of the University Strategic Plan, the ITEC Accessibility Subcommittee is pleased to announce the availability of two new tools designed to help faculty easily make content accessible to all students. Accessibility has been the recent focus of many universities across the country and the University of Hartford is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive education for all students.

The first tool is the Automatic Captioning tool in Ensemble. All new videos uploaded to Ensemble (the University’s streaming media server) will be automatically closed-captioned. Previously uploaded videos can be automatically captioned at the click of a button. For more information on Ensemble, view the Getting Started with Ensemble guide.

The second tool is Ally, which is a Blackboard add-on tool. Ally will automatically convert PDFs, Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to an accessible format for students upon upload into Blackboard, and also converts files already in your Blackboard courses. Ally also offers faculty just-in-time, step-by-step tips for making documents more accessible to students, indicating those that can be improved with a color-coded gear icon (students do not see this). Making corrections is easy! Just click the gear icon and a panel will pop-up on the right with suggestions and corrections can be made right there in Blackboard. For more information on Ally, please view the Ally guide

Faculty with questions or concerns about Accessibility or accommodations for students should contact Tracy Carlson, Director of Access-Ability Services at 860.768.4312 or

Faculty needing help or support with Ensemble Automatic Captioning and Ally, should contact their departmental mentor or The Faculty Center for Learning Development (FCLD) at 860.768.4661 or

The Faculty Center for Learning Development (FCLD) supports the academic and curricular use of technology-enhanced teaching and learning by providing seminars, support, training, consulting, and instructional design assistance.  Specific services include:

  • Primary administration and faculty support for Blackboard, the campus’ online learning system.
  • Faculty seminars, guest presenters, and how-to workshops throughout the year.
  • A faculty support help line (860) 768-4661 and email support
  • Instructional design consulting for distance, blended, flipped, and face-to-face instruction.
  • Written guides, quick guides, tutorials and other instructional materials.
  • A drop-in faculty computer lab staffed with computer specialists.
  • Individual or group consultation and referrals.
  • A faculty technology networking wiki.
  • Equipment loans for exploration and pilots.