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Blackboard @ SUNY Cortland: Blackboard for Faculty

Complete Information for Blackboard and integrated technologies

Blackboard Guides for Faculty

Welcome to Blackboard

SUNY Cortland is migrating to Brightspace during the 2022-2023 academic year.  For more information check out the SUNY Cortland DLE page.  

Tutorials are being created for Brightspace now

Who's your Librarian?

Click on the name of an individual to send them an email message.  

 Department* Librarian Liaison
 Africana Studies Lauren Stern
 Anthropology Daniel Harms
 Art Maaike Oldemans
 Biology Hilary Wong
 Business / Economics Daniel Harms
 CAP Janet Ochs
 Chemistry Lauren Stern
 Communications Jeremy Pekarek
 Communication Disorders Jennifer Moore
 Education (FSA/EDL) Lisa Czirr
 Education (CEC/LIT/TMC) Lisa Czirr
 English Daniel Harms
 Geography Jennifer Parker
 Geology Hilary Wong
 Health Jennifer Moore
 History Jeremy Pekarek
 International Studies Maaike Oldemans
 Kinesiology Jennifer Moore
 Mathematics Jennifer Parker
 Modern Languages Maaike Oldemans
 Performing Arts (Theatre/Music) Richard Powell
 Physical Education Richard Powell
 Philosophy Jeremy Pekarek
 Physics Hilary Wong
 Political Science Richard Powell
 Psychology Daniel Harms
 Recreation Richard Powell
 Sociology Lauren Stern
 Sport Management Richard Powell



Who is your Instructional Designer?

Click on the name of an individual to send them an email message.  
School of Arts and Science Design Help
School of Education  Kristina Maricle 
School of Professional Studies  Hailey M Ruoff


email Design Help

Getting Started


End of Life - Discontinued - Ensemble


Instructor FAQs for Ally

What accessibility issues does Ally check for?

Ally’s accessibility checklist is based on WCAG 2.1 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). This is an international accessibility standard, and most of the new legislation and legal requirements worldwide aligns with this standard.

Additionally, Ally also adds a number of additional checks on top of this that start to target the usability and quality of the course materials a bit more.


What does Ally do with content it can’t check?

Ally includes content it can’t check for accessibility issues, such as ZIP archive and XML file, under “Other” in the institutional report. This content does not receive an accessibility score, does not contribute to the institution’s accessibility score and does not have an indicator or option to download alternative accessible versions in the User Interface.


What alternative formats does Ally generate?

Ally can provide alternative formats for these file types:

  • PDF files
  • Microsoft® Word files
  • Microsoft® Powerpoint® files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files

These alternative formats can be generated:

  • OCR’d version (for scanned documents)
  • Tagged PDF (currently for Word, Powerpoint and OpenOffice/LibreOffice files)
  • Semantic HTML
  • Audio
  • ePub
  • Electronic Braille


What happens when a course is copied? Does Ally go with the course copy?

Yes. When you copy a course, all alternative formats and instructor feedback will also be available in the new course.

When you archive a course, only references to file accessibility are available. Ally is a cloud service and will store the alternative formats on the Ally servers, which means that these are not pushed back to the LMS. The alternative formats will not be stored inside of the course archive, but the reference from the course archive will continue to be available.


What are some examples of how accessibility can benefit all students?

In many cases, improving the accessibility of course content benefits all students, including those without a disability. Accessibility is often closely connected to the quality and usability of the course materials.

Example 1: Having a proper digital copy of a document instead of a scan makes the document more usable for all students. It might make the document easier to read, especially for low-quality scans, and it also allows students to search through the document and find specific content, copy and paste sections of the document, and so on.

Example 2: Having a video with proper captioning or transcript makes the video more usable for all students. It allows the student to search through the video and find specific parts, the video can still be watched in high-noise situations (e.g., commuting), and so on.

Example 3: Having an image with a quality description can make the image more usable for all students. It can help clarify the content of the image and how it connects to the surrounding context, it makes the image searchable, and so on.

Example 4: Providing a good heading structure for a long document makes the document more usable for all students. It provides additional structure, which makes it easier to work through and process the content. It also allows for a Table of Contents to be generated, which can improve the navigability of the document.


Will Ally change my course appearance?

The only difference you'll see within your course is that Ally provides an accessibility score for your files. The score is shown by a gauge icon next to your course files. Select the gauge to view and improve your file accessibility.


What do students see?

Students see a menu to the left or right of each document. From this menu, they can select Alternative formats to access available versions they can download. Although they can download alternative formats of your files, it is best to improve the documents through the instructor feedback.


What happens to my original files?

Blackboard does not discard the original version of the document. Your original file is retained within the Blackboard system and can be retrieved if necessary.


What does the instructor need to do to generate alternative accessible formats for a content item?

Nothing. Ally automatically picks up on any existing or new course materials, runs it through the accessibility checklist, and makes the alternative accessible versions available to both the student and the instructor.


Is there a file size limit?

No, there is no file size limit. There may be cases where the algorithm fails to generate alternative accessible formats for certain large files, but Ally doesn’t enforce a maximum file size.

Active Learning




Respondus is a company that makes two pieces of software we utilize at SUNY Cortland - Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor. If you'd like to learn more about Respondus software, please contact us at  Privacy concerns have been brought up by students, if they have questions please refer them to Respondus' Privacy Policy

Blackboard Quiz Generator

We are very pleased to be able to offer you an easy way to convert your paper tests into Blackboard compatible files.  It allows you to type up the quiz offline in a program like Word or Notepad and not have to go through the trouble of making long quizzes via the Blackboard web interface.

Simply type or paste your quiz in the text area of the Blackboard Quiz Generator  and click the Create Quiz button. This will produce a zip file that you can import into the Pool Manager in Blackboard. There is a detailed user guide available that will show you how to format your questions.

Need assistance? Please contact the Instructional Designers who will be happy to work with you.

Thanks to the System Administrations and Web Services team in Information Resources for adapting this script!

Please allow up to 48 business hours for Design Help to manually process your request.

NOTE: As part of the upgrade from the previous version, students enrolled in a child section will no longer see the incorrect section. All students part of the merge will SEE their correct section, though actually be enrolled in whichever you choose as the parent section.

Requesting an ORG: Log into myRedDragon and navigate to the Faculty/Staff tab.  Look for the Blackboard Organizations Request Form in the middle of the page.

Adding Users to Blackboard Community: SUNY Cortland ORG Leaders can add internal users to their Community/Organization. Internal users are individuals with accounts.  External users need to be added by a Blackboard Administrator.  Please send a message to to have external users added.  Include the name of the Bb org, and the participant First Name, Last Name, Users home/work email address, preferably formatted in an excel spreadsheet.  An account will be created for each participant and sent to you.  It is your responsibility to contact the person and provide them their log in credentials.

After the Bb Organization has been created the Org Leader  that requested the Organization can make the Org available.  Typically, the Org is made available after the users/participants have been added and after the content has been added. If you need assistance with opening an Org, or making it available. 



This page is a repository of older Blackboard tutorial guides. It's important to note that some of them may NOT be 100% functional as Blackboard has undergone numerous upgrades since these were written. Most of these will still give a general idea of how the functions in Blackboard would work.