Providing Instructions for Blind Students
The Lab Rubric specifies that if a series of actions must be performed by the student, these instructions should be provided as a numbered list, and that it is also helpful to provide the keyboard shortcuts in these instructions.
Here is an example of a list of instructions for guiding a severely visually impaired or blind student through the process of creating a simple "Hello World!" program in VBA, using Microsoft Word. These instructions assume that the student is familiar with either JAWS or NVDA, and knows how to log into Desire2Learn. Ideally, this material would be covered in earlier course work, or with the help of an Assistive Aid. In order to make the instructions as useful as possible, please note that:
- The instructions are broken down into task-oriented subsections, with numbered lists of instructions for each task.
- Whenever possible, keyboard shortcuts are provided in the instructions, and information is provided on auditory cues that the student can use to complete the tasks.
- It is also highly recommended that the student be provided with a short list of commonly used keyboard shortcuts as a separate document that can be printed out in Braille. This will reduce the number of window changes the student will need to make in order to complete the lab.
- It is important to note that keyboard shortcuts change periodically as software is updated. It's a good idea to state which version of the development tools have been tested with these instructions.
- Try to avoid mentioning specific keyboard shortcuts for the screen reader program itself. This is because students who are using one screen reader will have trouble if you give instructions that are specific to a different screen reader. When it is absolutely necessary to give screen-reader specific instructions, try to provide a couple of alternatives for different screen readers, or to point out that the exact shortcuts may be different for different screen readers.
Here are the instructions that would be provided to the student:
Instructions for Completing Lab 1
Please follow these instructions to write the program for Lab 1. Note: these instructions have been tested with Microsoft Word 2007 using Windows 8 and should also work with Microsoft Word 2010 using Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8. There may be some differences in keyboard shortcuts for other versions of Word or other operating systems (such as Mac OSX). If you are having trouble with these instructions, please contact the instructor or your Assistive Aid for help.
Download the Lab
- Go to the Content tab in Desire2Learn
- In the table of contents, there is an item for "Lesson 2: Sequences". Open this item.
- Under "Lesson 2: Sequences" there is an item for Lab 1.
- Under the content for Lab 1, there is a link for "lab 1 (download and unzip)". Select this link.
- There is a Download button on this page. Click the button to download the Lab1.zip file.
Unzip the Lab Download
- Lab1.zip should be stored in your Downloads folder or on your desktop. Locate this document in Windows Explorer.
- Right-click on this document using Shift + F10. A context menu will pop up.
- Use the up and down arrow keys to locate "Extract All..." or press the T shortcut.
- Press return. A dialog will pop up titled "Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders". There is an "Extract" button on this dialog. Use TAB to navigate to this button.
- Press return to select the "Extract" button.
- A new Windows Explorer folder will open with a Lab1 folder inside of it.
Open the Lab Document
- Inside the Lab1 folder should be a file named Lab1.doc. If there is only a folder named Lab1 inside of your Lab1 folder, then open the Lab1 subfolder and Lab1.doc should be inside there.
- Open Lab1.doc. It should open in Microsoft Word.
- There may be a security warning that says "toolbar, property page, Protected View This file originated from an Internet location and might be unsafe. Click for more details.", along with a button labeled "Enable Editing" If you press F6 a few times, you might hear this button. If so, press enter to select it.
- There may be a security warning that says "toolbar, property page, Security Warning Macros have been disabled", along with a button labeled "Options..." If you press F6 a few times, you might hear this button. If so, press enter to select it.
- If you selected "Options..." the Microsoft Office Security Options dialog will open. There is a radio button labeled "Enable this content". Press Alt+E to select this button and press enter for OK. The dialog should go away.
Bring up the Visual Basic Developer's Window using a Keyboard Shortcut
- Some versions of Microsoft Word use Alt + F11 to bring up the Visual Basic Developer's Window. Press Alt + F11 now. If a window opens titled "Microsoft Visual Basic - Lab1 - [LabForm (Code)]" then proceed to the section titled "Open the LabForm Code Pane" below.
- If Alt + F11 doesn't work, then we'll need to use the Developer Tab in the Ribbon. Proceed to the next section, "Enable the Developer Tab in the Ribbon."
Enable the Developer Tab in the Ribbon
- Press Alt to activate the Word ribbon toolbar. Use the left and right arrows to cycle through the tools on the ribbon (Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, etc.). If there is a Developer tab, proceed to the next section "Bring up the Visual Basic Developer's Window." If the Developer tab is not in the ribbon, we'll need to activate it using the following steps.
- To activate the Developer tab, we need to open the Word Options dialog. This is under the file menu, and can be accessed by pressing Alt, followed by F, followed by I.
- The Word Options dialog has a list of selections. One of these selections is Customize. Select Customize using the down arrow.
- You should be on the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar and keyboard shortcuts pane. There are two lists on this pane. You want the one that is labeled "Customize the ribbon."
- Under "Customize the ribbon" you should find Developer with a checkbox next to it. Check the checkbox (space should work if the checkbox is selected).
- Press enter for OK. The Word Options dialog should go away.
Bring up the Visual Basic Developer's Window using the Developer Tool
- Press Alt followed by L followed by V to bring up the Visual Basic developer's window.
- A window titled "The Microsoft Visual Basic - Lab1 - [VBPass (Code)]" should pop up.
Open the LabForm Code Pane
- Press Ctrl + R to select the Project - Lab1 pane.
- Use the up and down arrows to find Forms in the list of folders.
- Use the right arrow to open the Forms folder.
- Use the right arrow again to select LabForm.
- Press F7 to open the code window.
Write the Code
- The Lab Form code includes some standard code that you will be adding your new code to. Use the arrow keys to Find the line that says "'Place your code below here".
- On the line after this line, type this text. The capitalization and punctuation are very important here, so you'll want to have this text read character by character:
LabelOut.Caption = LabelOut.Caption & "Hello World!" & vbNewLine
Run the Code
- Press F5 to run the program.
- If there are no errors, a dialog will pop up with the title Lab1. If you do get errors, you'll probably get an error dialog. Exactly what the error will be is hard to predict, but it's most likely a spelling or punctuation error in the line you just typed, or that the line is not below the line that says "'Place your code below here". Check this line carefully and make sure it is in the right location. Visual Basic might also place your cursor next to where it believes the error has occurred, which might be helpful. If you are unable to find this problem on your own, you may need help from your instructor or from an Assistive Aid.
- Assuming the Lab1 dialog did pop up, there should be a button named "Run Lab". Press this button. Once again, the program may run correctly or you might get an Error dialog.
- If the program worked correctly, the dialog should now be displaying the text "Hello World!" in a text label to the left of the "Run Lab" button. Unfortunately, there is no keyboard shortcut for selecting the text label. Use the JAWS cursor or NVDA + / to cause the screen reader to read this text and verify it is correct.
- If the above worked, congratulations! You have written your first program! Use Alt + F4 to close the Lab1 dialog and return to the Visual Basic Developer's Window. Use Alt + F4 again to return to Microsoft Word.