[Athen] Accessibility for Online Course Student Using JAWS

Nicaise Dogbo ndogbo at unr.edu
Tue Feb 26 08:30:24 PST 2008

When I took visual c++ several years ago, I remember there was a feature
to turn on or off compatibility with screen reader somewhere in the
"option" menu or menu item. You may want to check there or some place
similar if there is not anything like that in the version of visual
studio currently used by the student.
Hope that helps.

Nicaise R. Dogbo
Assistive Technology Specialist,
Disability Resource Center
University of Nevada, Reno
Voice: 775-784-6000
TTY: 775-327-5131
Fax: 775-784-6955


From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Larry Kiser
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:00 AM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Accessibility for Online Course Student Using JAWS

Dear Colleagues:

A non-degree seeking student who is blind and uses JAWS at home elected
to register for an online C++ course. As the term began the student
waited for the instructor to send a personal email rather than entering
the WebCT course site. After I explained to the student the necessity
of doing so I spent considerable time writing up command protocols for
the student so the student could navigate the site. I was surprised
that the student was unaware of many available JAWS commands but the
student appeared to be able to access the course material with the
protocols. The student then encountered problems downloading and
installing Visual Studio and using the CD that came with the textbook.
At the student's insistence the instructor located a tutor, who is paid
by the Division of Blind Services to go to the student's home for
tutoring sessions. Last week I got a call from the student who reported
that he was unable to access certain windows in Visual Studio with JAWS.
The tutor was supposed to meet with me in order that we could open the
applications with JAWS and determine if there was a work around. That
has not yet occurred. The student also claims some of the course
elements in WebCT are graphics and inaccessible.

I am clear that if inaccessible graphics have been incorporated into the
course material I need to collaborate with the instructor to make an
accessible alternative. However, I am not clear what the college's
responsibility is regarding problems with JAWS interacting with
Microsoft's Visual Studio. Have any of you encountered similar
situations and how did you resolve it? I did download the VAT for that
application from Microsoft and noted that Microsoft claims it is 508
compliant with some exceptions. At this point I do not know if the
exceptions are the problem the student is encountering. The student has
expressed the feeling in an email that an alternative course format
should be made available in lieu of WebCT. Would that be considered a
fundamental alteration of the course?

Larry Kiser, Counselor

Disabilities Resource Center

Santa Fe Community College

Gainesville, FL

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