This information applies only to the Original experience. Your institution controls which tools are available.

Before you get started

For a great experience in Blackboard Learn with JAWS®, you need to know a few things.

Set Auto Forms Mode to Manual

When auto forms mode is set to its default, which is "Automatic," arrowing over an edit field, combo box or other control automatically focuses it and turn forms mode on. As the Blackboard pages are dense with content, it is often necessary to review page content line by line. For this reason, set Auto Forms Mode to Manual.

  1. Open Firefox® and load Blackboard Learn.
  2. Press Insert + V to open the Quick Settings dialog.
  3. Type Auto Forms Mode into the search field and press Tab to focus the list of results. The first result should be Auto Forms Mode. This is set to automatic by default.
  4. Press Space until JAWS announces that it is set to Manual.
  5. Press Enter twice to apply the changes and close the dialog.

Start JAWS before launching Firefox

JAWS must be launched before Firefox is opened. If you don't you may experience these things.

  • Errors when pressing the hotkey to list links (Insert + 7), form fields (Insert + F5), headings (Insert + F6) and so on
  • You can't arrow up and down through page content with the virtual PC cursor

To fix this, close all open Firefox windows and reopen Blackboard Learn. JAWS should grab the page content and the element lists should function normally.


Quickly jumping to content

Each page of the Blackboard Learn with Original experience is dense with customization options. These options allow you to add or remove menu items from any of the several sections that preface the content of the actual page. Many of these can be ignored.

The main content of the page can almost always be found by pressing Control + Home to jump to the top of page content, followed by pressing the 1 key on the top number row twice. The first time you'll encounter a heading marking the Quick Links Menu, and the second time you'll find the heading marking the start of page content.

A particular exception to this is the Course Menu. It appears above the content of the page for a course. You find and activate links from this menu directly. You can also find all of its options below the Course Menu heading level 2.


Locating headings, links, and form controls

If you are not familiar with JAWS's HTML navigation commands, we recommend that you read the relevant documents in JAWS help.

You'll find these commands most useful when you use Blackboard Learn:

  • Press the H key and Shift + H to move through headings on a page.
  • Press Insert + F7 to have JAWS list links.
  • Press Insert + F5 for form controls.
  • Press Insert + F6 to bring up a list of headings. Begin typing the name of the heading to quickly locate it within the list.

    Example: Type "My course" to find the My Courses heading and enter to jump to it.

  • Press CTRL + F to quickly find text on a page. Type text such as "My Course" into the JAWS Find dialog that appears and press Enter. JAWS finds the next occurrence of that text and jumps to it.

Find out what can be done on a page

Use the Tab key and Shift + Tab keys to move between links, form controls and other actionable page content. Blackboard Learn has placed instructional text that is not actionable in the Tab order. If you Tab to an item that begins with words instructive in nature, these are instructions and no action can be taken.

Example: Press 'Submit' to create the test

Continue pressing Tab to find the control you're looking for.

If you hear an element's role after tabbing to it (link, button, check box, edit, Combo Box, and so on) then you are able to interact with that element as you would in any other application.


Deactivating Forms Mode

JAWS activates Forms Mode when it believes that you'll need to enter text, review text, or manipulate a control. You'll hear the high-pitched blip announcing that Forms Mode is activated.

You'll need to turn off Forms Mode to review the text on a page using the Up and Down arrow keys.

To turn off forms mode, press the Plus key on the number pad. If you have Laptop Mode active, press Caps Lock + Semicolon.


Application Mode

When focusing Rich Content Editor controls, JAWS enters Application Mode. This is the same as Forms Mode, except you need to press NumPad Plus twice quickly to get out of it. The first time Plus is pressed you hear "Application Mode." Press Plus again before JAWS stops saying the word "Application." JAWS disables Forms Mode so you can review page content.


Menus

Menus are vertical list of items that appears after activating a link. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move through this list. It's important to pay attention to context because menu items don't have a role of link. Only their names are spoken when focused.

Pressing Tab while a menu is opened closes the menu.

If you open a menu and decide that you had chosen the wrong link, press Tab to dismiss the menu from view. However, JAWS usually leaves Forms Mode on.


The Course Menu

The Course Menu contains links to jump to the Grade Center, assessments, wikis, blogs, groups, discussion forums, announcements, and so on.

Find this menu under the Course Menu heading level 2.


Check boxes

JAWS may report the checked or unchecked state of a check box in a strange manner.

  • On some pages, JAWS announces "Checked. Not Checked." after pressing space to check a check box.
  • When the space key unchecks a check box, JAWS announces "Not checked. Not checked."

If you're ever unsure about the state of a check box or any other control, press Insert + Tab to repeat it.


Rich content editors

Most multiline edit fields allow formatting of text. These include comments, descriptions, and so on. The controls to format text are contained inside of a toolbar.

You run across these controls while arrowing down through each page. There are many of them. Press Tab to jump down to the edit field, where you'll be able to enter content.

Text pasted into a form field isn't read out automatically by a screen reader. Use the standard reading commands: Press INSERT + right or left arrow key to read characters/words. Press ALT + arrow keys to read next/previous sentences. Press CTRL + arrow keys to read paragraphs. You can also tab out of the field and SHIFT + TAB back into it. That should cause JAWS to start reading the content.


ULTRA: Sign in

  1. Verify that Blackboard Learn tab is open.
  2. Navigate the page to find the following features:
    • Heading with logo
    • Username edit field
    • Password edit field
    • Sign in button
    • Forgot Password? link that opens a new browser window
    • Create an Account link that opens in the same tab
    • Announcements (if applicable)
    • View Course Catalog link that opens in the same tab
    • Help link that opens a new tab
    • Privacy and Terms of Use link that opens a dialog window
  3. Navigate to the Username edit field.
  4. Enter username.
  5. Navigate to the Password edit field.
  6. Enter password.
  7. Press Enter to sign in.
  8. Verify the Activity Stream page is available.

Login Error Message

If you enter an incorrect username or password, focus will be placed on an error message with the text “The username or password you typed is incorrect. Please try again. If you still cannot log in, contact your system administrator.” Navigate to the Username edit to try again.

Privacy, cookies and terms of use

To close the dialog window, you can do one of the following:

  • Press Esc
  • Navigate to the OK button. Spacebar or click OK button.

ULTRA: Help for current page

If at any time you need help for the page you have open, a Help for current page link icon is available in the bottom right corner of the page.

When activated, a new browser tab opens with the name of page. For example, Activity Stream, followed by Blackboard Help.


ULTRA: Base navigation

After the application opens, you have the following features available from the navigation menu located on the left side of the page:

  • [your institution name] link (Institution Page)
  • [your name] link (Profile)
  • Activity Stream link (page available when application first opened)
  • Courses link
  • Organizations link
  • Calendar link
  • Messages link
  • Grades link
  • Tools link
  • Sign Out link

ULTRA: Institution Page

Content on the Institution Page varies. In general, sections begin with a heading level 3.

The administrator role has additional privileges.

  1. Navigate to [your institution name]
  2. Enter or click [your institution name] to open the [your institution name] page
  3. Navigate the page to find announcements and other institution specific information

ULTRA: Profile

  1. Navigate to [your name] link.
  2. Enter or click [your name] to open the Profile page. 
  3. Once the page is opened, you'll have the following information available:
    • Change profile picture
    • Basic Information
      • Full name
      • Email address
      • Student ID
      • Password
    • Additional Information
      • Gender
      • Other Name/Nickname
      • Birthday
      • Education Level
      • Website
    • Contact Information
      • Mailing Address
      • Phone Number
      • Business Fax Number
    • Job Information
      • Company
      • Job Title
      • Department
    • System Settings
      • Language
      • Privacy Settings
      • Global Notification Settings
    • To change your personal. information, Enter or click on a link in the Additional Information, Contact Information, or Job Information.

ULTRA: Activity Stream

When you first open Learn Ultra, it will land on the Activity Stream page. When you navigate the page, content automatically loads. Each role has slightly different functionality, however in general the following features are typically available:

  1. Sections divided into Upcoming, Today, and Recent using heading level 2
  2. Content in each section is in a list that with the following types of information
    • Course name
    • Any tests, assignments, etc. due
    • Due dates
    • New items added or updated
    • Actions that need to be taken
  3. Filter button defaulted to Show All
  4. Notification Settings link

Activity Stream - Filter

  1. Navigate to Filter button
  2. Spacebar or click Filter pop-up button to open the menu
  3. Navigate and spacebar or click to select one of the following filters
    1. Assignments and Tests
    2. Grades and Feedback
  4. Activity Stream page will update to only display filtered content

Notification Settings

  1. Navigate to the Notification Settings link
  2. Enter or click Notification Settings link to open the Notification Settings panel
  3. You can then navigate between the following tabs:
    • Stream Notification Settings
    • Email Notification Settings
    • Push Notification Settings
  4. Each tab has unique features based on your role.

Notification Settings – Close

  1. To close the Notification Settings panel, navigate to the Close button.
  2. Spacebar or click Close button.
  3. Focus will return to the Activity Stream page. 

Notification Settings – Cancel

  1. To cancel any changes made in the Notification Settings panel, navigate to the Cancel button.
  2. Spacebar or click Cancel button.
  3. Focus will return to the Activity Stream page. 

Notification Settings - Save

  1. To save any changes made in the Notification Settings panel, navigate to the Save button.
  2. Spacebar or click Save button.
  3. Focus will return to the Activity Stream page.

ULTRA: Courses

Courses listed on this page are unique to you. If you are a student, work with your instructor to verify the name that your course is listed under. If you are an instructor and someone creates your course page for you, work with that person to verify the name of your course is listed under.

When you navigate the page, content automatically loads.

  1. From the navigation menu located on the left side of the page, navigate to the Courses link.
  2. Enter or click Courses link to open the Courses page.
  3. The Courses page will then have the following standard features:
    • Open Course Catalog link
    • [previous term] button
    • Current Courses pop-up button
    • Upcoming Courses button
    • View Course List radio button
    • View Course Grid radio button
    • Search your courses edit field
    • Course filter pop-up button
    • Items per page pop-up button
    • Course name link
    • More information/Course information button (view dependent)
    • Favorites toggle button
    • More options [course name] pop-up button (Administrator and Instructor roles only)

ULTRA: Course Content

There are two ways to get to the course content, from the Activity Stream or from Courses.

The content in the course content will be unique for the course. If you are a student, please work with your instructor to verify the names for assignments, folders, learning modules, and so on. If you are an instructor who works with someone else to upload content into your course, verify  the names for assignments, folders, learning modules, and so on.

Content will automatically load on page when navigating.

  1. After the Course Content page is opened, the following basic features are available to all roles:
    • Content link
    • Calendar link
    • Discussion link
    • Gradebook link
    • Messages link
    • Details & Actions heading
      • Roster heading 
        • View everyone in your course link 
      • Blackboard Collaborate heading (if product is available): 
        • More options for Collaborate pop-up button
        • Join Session pop-up button
      • Attendance heading
        • View your attendance link
      • Announcements heading
        • View archive link
      • Books & Tools heading
        • View course & institution tools
    • Course Content heading

Course Content - from the Activity Stream

  1. On the Activity Stream, navigate to [course name] link.
  2. Enter or click [course name].
  3. Course Content page opens. 

Course Content – from Courses

  1. On the Course Content page in either List or Grid view, navigate to [course name] link.
  2. Enter or click [course name].
  3. Course Content page opens.

ULTRA: Discussion

The responses and replies are different for each discussion. Content automatically loads on page when navigating.

On the discussion page, the following features will be available:

  • Discussion Topic heading
  • Discussion topic text
  • Responses
  • Reply links
  • Show Replies (#) links
  • Details & Information heading
  • Participants (#) heading
  • Find participants edit field
  • List of participants with number of (#) Response and (#) Replies
  • +(#) more link

Discussion – from the Activity Stream

  1. Navigate to the discussion [name] link.
  2. Enter or click [name] link.
  3. Discussion page opens. 

Discussion – from Course Content

  1. Navigate to the discussion [name] link.
  2. Enter or click [name] link.
  3. Discussion page opens. 

Discussion – from the Gradebook

  1. Navigate to the discussion [name] link.
  2. Enter or click [name] link.
  3. Discussion page opens.

ULTRA: Organizations

  1. Navigate to the Organizations link in the navigation menu located on the left of the screen.
  2. Enter or click Organizations link.
  3. Organizations page will open with the following features:
    • Current Organizations pop-up button
    • Upcoming Organizations button
    • View Organization List radio button
    • View Organization Grid radio button
    • Search your organization edit field
    • Organization filter pop-up button
    • Items per page pop-up button
    • Organization name link
    • More information/Organization information button (view dependent)
    • Favorites toggle button
    • More options [organization name] pop-up button (Administrator and Instructor roles only)

ULTRA: Calendar

The calendar can be opened from the left navigation menu and from the navigation menu located at the top of the screen on the following pages:

  • Course Content
  • Calendar
  • Gradebook
  • Messages

When the Calendar is opened, the following features will be available for all roles:

  • New Event button
  • Calendar Settings link
  • Schedule button (default)
  • Due Dates button
  • Day button (default on today’s date)
  • Month button
  • Today button (not available if on today’s date)
  • Previous week button
  • Current view date is [day of week, month day, year, open month view] link that displayed as [Mon Year], For example, Jul 2019.
  • View events for Sunday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number
  • View events for Monday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number
  • View events for Tuesday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number
  • View events for Wednesday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number
  • View events for Thursday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number, displayed as a number
  • View events for Friday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number
  • View events for Saturday, [month day, year] button, displayed as a number
  • Next week button
  • Table – Day and Month views
  • Event links

Calendar – from the left navigation menu

  1. Navigate to the Calendar link in the navigation menu located on the left of the screen.
  2. Enter or click Calendar link.
  3. Calendar page opens. 

Calendar – from the Course Menu

The New Event button and Calendar Settings link are not available when opening the Calendar from the Course Menu.

  1. Navigate to the Calendar link in the navigation menu located at the top of the screen on the following pages:
    • Course Content
    • Discussions
    • Gradebook
    • Messages
  2. Enter or click Calendar link.
  3. Calendar page opens.

ULTRA: Messages

Messages – from the left navigation menu

  1. Navigate to the Messages link in the navigation menu located on the left of the screen.
  2. Enter or click Messages link.
  3. Messages page will open with the following features:
    • Previous Term button
    • Course Names
    • Course IDs
    • (#) New Message
    • (#) Messages
    • New Message for [course name] link
  4. Navigate to a [course name]
  5. Enter or click [course name]
  6. Messages page will open with the following features:
    • (#) New Message
    • (#) Messages
    • Items per page pop-up button
    • New Message link
    • List of messages
    • Delete buttons for each message

Messages – from the Course Menu

  1. Navigate to the Messages link in the navigation menu located at the top of the screen on the following pages:
    • Course Content
    • Calendar
    • Discussions
    • Gradebook
  2. Enter or click Messages link.
  3. Messages page will open with the following features:
    • (#) New Message
    • (#) Messages
    • Items per page pop-up button
    • New Message link
    • List of messages
    • Delete buttons for each message

ULTRA: Gradebook

Gradebook – from Grades

Content automatically loads on Grades page when navigating.

  1. Navigate to the Grades link in the navigation menu located on the left of the screen.
  2. Enter or click Grades link.
  3. Grades page will open with the following features:
    • Previous Term button
    • [course name] link
    • Course progress chart link
    • Overall grade link
    • View all coursework (#) link
    • Recent grades (if available)
  4. Navigate to a [course name].
  5. Enter or click [course name].
  6. Gradebook page opens. 

Gradebook – from the Course Menu

  1. Navigate to the Gradebook link in the navigation menu located at the top of the screen on the following pages:
    • Course Content
    • Calendar
    • Discussions
    • Messages
  2. Enter or click Gradebook link.
  3. Gradebook page opens.

ULTRA: Tools

  1. Navigate to the Tools link in the navigation menu located on the left of the screen.
  2. Enter or click Tools link.
  3. Tools page opens with the following features:
    • Cloud Applications heading
    • List of cloud application links
    • Blackboard Tools heading
    • List of Blackboard tools links

ULTRA: Sign Out

  1. Navigate to the Sign Out link in the left navigation menu.
  2. Enter or click Sign Out.
  3. Blackboard Learn page will be available.