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Community Champion

Question about the Rich Content Editor and JAWS

I just got done consulting with a blind instructor who is interested in using Canvas in his face-to-face class. We found that when he created an assignment he could not get JAWS to focus on getting the cursor into the rich content editor. I think he is using a recent version of JAWS.  Any suggestions or tips on using JAWS with Canvas. I honestly don't know much about JAWS but he said it usually takes him a bit of using a new site before he learns all the shortcuts.

3 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi snugent

Have you checked this out Accessibility within Canvas it is very useful, and also includes a link to this document

I hope this helps,


Community Champion

Thanks  @kmeeusen ​. That is great resource to share with faculty.

Community Participant

I am a JAWS user and have taken thirty courses in Canvas and am now creating a course.

It is tricky to get to the RCE with JAWS,  but that's because JAWS is using the keyboard to read stuff, and you want to use the keyboard to edit stuff.

You have to force JAWS to go in to Application mode, which tells JAWS to stop interpreting keystrokes and let Canvas interpret them instead.

Then all your keystrokes will work; your arrows will let you move the cursor through the text rather than moving the JAWS reading cursor. What's happening with your instructor is that his presses of the arrow keys move what JAWS calls the virtual cursor so he can't do anything but read -- JAWS by default reads a page with the keyboard, you cannot interact.

The trick is this. Arrow down to where you can start reading the toolbar and find a nondescructive item like align left. Press Enter on it.

When you press Enter, JAWS realizes you are now in a web application and lets go control of the keyboard and turns its virtual cursor off.

But there's still a problem. You are focused on the toolbar, not on the word processing Window of the RCE. So you have to press Escape to tell Canvas to take you to the RCE.

If you take the JAWS reading cursor down to the editing portion of the RCE and press Enter, JAWS doesn't recognize you are in a web application. I think the aria codes for application mdoe might be in a slightly wrong place in the source for Canvas but I'm not sure about that. What does happen is that JAWS tries to go in to forms mode, then goes back in to virtual cursor mode, making interaction with the RCE impossible.


Hope this helps.