Aira – Another Accessibility Offering from D2L
What is Aira?
Aira is an assistive technology that helps users with vision loss get information about the visual world around them through their smartphone. The user could be trying to select a birthday card with a message they like or to find their favourite coffee shop in an unfamiliar area. By making a video call through the Aira app, they get connected with one of Aira’s specially trained agents. The agent then guides the user in doing the activity they want to do by describing what they see through the user’s camera. Aira also offers a special pair of eyeglasses with some plans to enable hands-free access. This video story illustrates how a traveler with vision loss uses Aira in an airport. Aira agents can also help with issues the user has with tasks they are doing with their computer. Aira’s services are typically priced like a local phone call.
What is D2L’s Aira Access Partnership?
D2L entered an access partnership with Aira in 2019. Under this all users of D2L Brightspace in countries where the Aira service is currently offered (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK) can access the Aira service for free when used with Brightspace. D2L has since been extending this partnership every year and it is currently valid until June 2024. D2L users with vision impairments can get the Aira agent to describe any content in Brightspace that is not accessible like charts without a text description, or get their help in overcoming other issues they experience with Brightspace access.
Through the Aira initiative, D2L adds one more tool to the accessibility tool kit of Brightspace learners with disabilities to enhance their independence and engagement. The goal is to reach education to every learner holistically.
How can I try Aira?
To try Aira with Brightspace, you can follow the steps given below or refer to the visual instructions on the D2L-Aira Partnership page:
- Download the app from the Apple App store or Google Play store OR submit your phone number at
and receive a download link on the phone.
- Install the app.
- On the app’s Home screen, select Apply a Free Access Offer.
- Select Products.
- Select D2L – Brightspace and click Apply Offer.
You are now equipped to call Aira for help with visual tasks while working with Brightspace. To know more about how Aira works with Brightspace, you can watch a talk by Greg Stilson from Aira during the October 2019 Accessibility Interest Group meeting. Please spread awareness about this Aira service through D2L.