[Athen] Accessible "fill in the blank"

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Mon Jan 7 08:12:59 PST 2019

Christine, unless I have information from a student to say otherwise, I put in four dashes where there is a blank. A screen reader user who also reads Braille recognizes this as a fill in the blank. But you could make it more explicit and use brackets and "fill in the blank" to indicate that there is something to fill in, aka [fill in the blank]. A screen reader would likely want to turn on the punctuation so they would hear the brackets to give them warning that there is something outside of the normal text.

Generally, though, I only see these fill in the blank things on tests, and this is why blind students get extended time - because it takes longer to navigate through these things and be able to "see" the answers and fill in the space.

Are faculty asking you for testing purposes, or for something else?

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
University of Colorado Boulder

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Christine Robinson
Sent: Monday, January 7, 2019 8:40 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Accessible "fill in the blank"

Hi all -

What's the best way of providing "fill in the blank" space in a Word document? Faculty members are asking me how to do this in an accessible manner, for students using screen readers - and I'm "drawing a blank," so to speak.

The traditional approaches have been

1. typing a line

For example:

Water molecules contain the elements ________ and _________.

2. leaving blank space

For example:

List the elements in a molecule of carbon:

With either traditional approach, if the document is filled out electronically, then the line or space is intended to be replaced with typewritten text. If the document is printed, then the line or space is written on by hand.

If the document were to be printed, then I would use paragraph spacing for my example in #2, so that there aren't repeated blanks, but that wouldn't be a good idea if students were going to answer the questions on their computers.

There are so many details to making electronic documents accessible! And I know it would be easier if faculty members put their content on web pages instead of in electronic documents, but that isn't a change we can make in the near future.

Thanks for any help you can offer -

Christine Robinson | Technical Trainer/Writer | Center for Teaching Excellence
Georgia Gwinnett College | 1000 University Center Lane| Lawrenceville, GA 30043

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