Moderated Re: Jaws & Discussion Board in Blackboard

HH. Smith Jr.


I am suffering from the same issue at Capella. In a conference call with a Blackboard tech and disabilities services at the school the issue was reproduced. The problems stems from an update to the Blackboard platform in the summer of 2020. It is an issue with application layer. JAWS being a screen reader only reads text and has had an issue with application layer from the beginning of time. Blackboard, in an effort to save processing time and other network resource task reducing techniques, have placed their apps on different concurrently running layers not to be confused with levels, laying on top of each other. With JAWS being a screen reader, it cannot dig down to the appropriate layer to read or interact with the layer you want to work with properly, but yet, it will read the entire screen in totality after you interact with it good or bad. The problem is known to Blackboard, but, as screen reader users, our voice is very small in this arena; therefore, the fix/change is not forthcoming any time soon. they're also very stubborn and in denial of the issue. The problem is not them, it is us? according to them. Go figure?

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Russell Solowoniuk
Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2021 10:19 AM
Subject: Jaws & Discussion Board in Blackboard

Hi Everyone,

I'm working with a student who is using Jaws 2021 and is enrolled in an English course. The course is being delivered mostly online in Blackboard, version 9.1, I believe.

The issue we are having is with the Discussion Board. The students must post an introduction in the Discussion Board, and read and respond to at least 2 other student introductions.

When the student clicks on "Create Thread" to start his introduction, Jaws goes into "Application Mode. In this mode, the student can type in the Subject line, but there seems to be no way to get to the editor where the student must type in his introduction. Well, he can get to it by tabbing twice, but once there, he is not able to type anything in this editor, and there is no indication that he has entered the editor. Jaws reads "Thread: Self introduction. – ENGL-102-AS07(1) -
2021 Win..." when tabbing twice from the subject field. We can confirm that no text is being entered when typing by getting out of Applications Mode and narrowing down to where the Word count is shown, and it shows 0 words. The student is able to type his introduction in Word, copy all the text, and then paste it into the editor, but can not then read what he has pasted. We know the text has been pasted by the Word count, and once he submits his post, we are able to open it and read it with Jaws.
The same thing happens when trying to respond to another student's introduction. He is able to read the introduction, press enter on "Reply" but cannot type or even know when or if he is in the Editor.
He is able to type the response in Word, and copy and paste it into the Editor, but it seems like sometimes pressing tab twice from the subject field takes him into the editor, and sometimes he must tab 3 times, and since there is no indication that he is in the Editor, it is really hit and miss and quite frustrating.

Are there settings in Blackboard that can be changed to allow Jaws to work with the Editor in the Discussions area? Are there any Jaws settings that can be changed to make this work?

I also experience this same issue on my PC, so it's not specific to the student's computer. The problem also exists with NVDA. We are both running Windows 10 and Jaws 2021.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


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