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Special language character panel/chart integration for Rich Content Editor

Special language character panel/chart integration for Rich Content Editor

(21)
Faculty at our institution would like the integration of a special language character panel or chart into the Rich Content Editor. They feel it would be easier for students than the current methods of typing or copy/pasting special characters into their assignments and discussions. They feel it would also be easier for teachers of language courses to give feedback if special characters were more easily accessible in that way.
97 Comments
Beth_Young
Community Contributor

As someone whose classes use the International Phonetic Alphabet, I can see why this would be useful!

In the meantime, some of my students have found this website helpful: TypeIt - Type accent marks, diacritics and foreign letters online

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

This feature idea is now open for voting.

irishb
Community Contributor

Hi  @Beth_Young ​,

Thanks so much for the tip on TypeIt!

Bridget

dania1951
Community Member

I think this would totally make our jobs easier, and the students would be less lost.

Great idea!

Thanks

pflorenz
Community Member

Students will definitely benefit from this feature, adding the accents has always been a concern. This will facilitate matters to both instructors and students.

Fantastic idea!

maria_redmon
Community Member

Beth,

I will try out the site you mention.  Thanks,

Maria

martinef
Community Member

Absolutely necessary for many languages over than English in all universities. Add this feature as soon as possible for faculty and students! For campus and online courses. Thanks!

cwendt
Community Champion

Not to detract from the original intent, but on both Macs and PCs, it is entirely possible to set up a foreign language keyboard, and even switch rapidly between languages. The key placement is not much different for romance languages; on languages with other alphabets (Russian, Korean), you wouldn't want to hunt and peck from a character map anyway, would you?

As a regular user of other languages, I still can't figure out why this would be preferential.  😕  (sorry)

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @cwendt ​,

Thank you for sharing your perspective.  A big part of the feature idea process is helping us to prioritize how to utilize engineering resources.  An idea doesn't necessarily have to be 'bad' in order to not be as good of an idea as something else.  If you think this would be a poor use of resources, relative to the other ideas presented here for vote, please consider down voting.

Thanks,

SD

cwendt
Community Champion

Thanks for the insight. Put into perspective like that, I will downvote as I do think it would, compared to other ideas, be a very poor use of resources.

It's simply unnecessary—all modern computers have this capability built in. I cannot understand how language teachers are not using it since it's right at their fingertips. It would be like having to use a code or character map every time you needed a question mark or period in English.

cwendt
Community Champion

Maybe people don't know how to set up an alternate keyboard?  😕

Beth_Young
Community Contributor

 @cwendt  Yes, or maybe students are using lab computers (not language lab, just general student lab) or other computers where they can't set up an alternate keyboard? Or maybe they need symbols that are not an "alternate language" (e.g., IPA)?

I confess that I don't know how to set up an alternate keyboard, actually, but then I don't know if there is one for IPA.  Guess I should find out!

cwendt
Community Champion

For other languages, the alternate keyboard is not a download—it's part of the package!

However, you are correct in that with IPA it's more complicated and does require a font download, but after you do that it's available in your system preferences, just like all of the other scads of languages....on a Mac, at least. Not sure about Windows for IPA. What OS are you using?

The issue with having a chart/table/codes is that once the student advances in the language, it's rather handicapping, no less than it would be to have to, say, type in a code or choose from a chart every time you did an N and a T in English, or any vowels, or something akin to that. Students should learn to type in that language, on a regular keyboard just as people do in the home countries of that language. Heaven forbid you are using Cyrillic (for Russian or whatever) or typing Korean or something—it would slow you down tremendously to have to hunt and peck all of those characters!

Beth_Young
Community Contributor

You're making good points!  If I ever get caught up on grading, I will have to investigate an alternate keyboard (Windows 10). I already have a couple of fonts with IPA.

ejp10
Community Participant

Not sure how to vote for this, but it is nice to have a tool that is consistent across platforms. You can insert anything in Windows and Mac, but the process for each device is very different. Anything with phonetic character support would be beneficial to phonetics class and to a lot of language teachers.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hi Elizabeth,

You should be able to vote by clicking either the up or down voting buttons immediately to the right of the idea's vote count: 2015-10-09_1214 - Scott.Dennis's library

allison
Instructure
Instructure

Thanks, everyone, for adding your personal workarounds to this request. With something like the Rich Content Editor (RCE), it's always a challenge to decide whether we will support numerous editing features, which could clutter the authoring experience or just a few features, which would simplify the authoring experience and result in better page design overall. As you might expect, we will probably opt for the latter in our RCE design choices, though knowing about this need is still very helpful. Please feel free to push back and share more with us about why the built-in special character shortcuts available in your operating system and browser are not sufficient for teachers or students using Canvas. That is information we still want to know.

kevans
Community Participant

I'd like to add that students taking foreign language exams created in Canvas that require the use of the Respondus LockDown Browser would benefit tremendously by having foreign character maps in the Rich Content Editor, or as a tool on the side someplace for fill-in the blank or short answer questions.

cwendt
Community Champion

You can use LockDown and still input foreign characters:

- Have students use a foreign language keyboard, available on Windows and Mac OS.

- Have students click symbol at the top of each quiz, bringing up an on-screen keyboard.

harmons
Community Participant

I'll add my $0.02 on this issue. As someone who teaches both linguistics and Spanish, I can't NOT have this option on the toolbar with any text box/input arena. Most community college students are reticent to go outside of their comfort zone in the first place--which is what they do when they take a foreign language. When I have used other sites that posed this problem before, students simply fail to utilize the work-arounds. If they don't see the option in the toolbar using their web browser of choice, they will neglect to utilize diacritics and special characters. What is more, at least half of our students are using campus computers or their smartphones--they don't have their own computer to manipulate keyboards.

I find this supremely English-centric, and almost discriminatory against other languages! I understand the 'design aesthetic' argument, but in taking that line of argumentation, you have dealt a blow to languages other than English. It honestly makes me not want to use the program!