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Screen Reader Essentials from CAVI

What is Screen Reader Essentials?

This CAVI ran course will prepare you for not only using your screen reader effectively but your host operating system as well. It will prepare you for day-to-day tasks and how to educate others about how you absorb content and require information accessibly. Upon completion, students will be able to articulate their needs as a vision impaired individual, use and troubleshoot their screen reader of choice including backup solutions and navigate solution orientated critical thinking when accessing new websites or applications.

You will need two screen readers for this course, JAWS and NVDA

Course Outline

CAVI Screenreader Essentials course outline

CAVI lectures will be delivered via the Zoom platform, all lectures and consultations are recorded for students that are unable to attend live and for archival purposes.

Once you have installed Zoom on your device you are ready to go, you should have received an email from your instructor with the meeting identifier or link. The live lecture will be delivered on Sunday morning at 10am (Australian eastern standard time AEST) - (GMT+10). Please ensure you are in the group delivery room 15mins before the lecture begins. For students outside of Australia you may need to consult the time link to work out the time difference. Basically if your timezone is GMT-04:00 you have 4 plus 10 equals 14 hours difference between you and your instructor.

The live lectures will be recorded and made available for you to download or listen to shortly after the live lecture has concluded. The lectures will be available for Download in the Screen reader Essentials wiki, a username and password is required to view the recordings of which your instructor should have provided to you in your first lecture. A consultation session will be held on Sunday morning at 11am (Australian eastern standard time AEST) - (GMT+10) if you need assistance or guidance with any of the material or if you are experiencing issues. The consultation session will be 1.0hrs in length and will be run the same way as the live lectures.

  • Week 1
    • Housekeeping,
    • What is a screen reader?
    • OS and screen readers students are using.
    • why are screen readers used?
    • Obtaining a screen reader
  • Week 2
    • Self-voicing vs screen reading - differences

various screen readers available – JAWS, NVDA, Voiceover, the three main ones. Accessibility suite for android? Possible fourth to mention? Or are we only looking at computers.

  • Setup of screen readers
  • Adjusting speech, punctuation and verbosity
  • Week 3
    • Obtaining help and more info
    • Using generic terminology
    • Customisation
    • Installing addons or your preferred voices
  • Week 4
    • Access keys, navigation modes, reviewing information, different cursor and review modes for different situations
    • Dive into the operating system and commonly used keyboard shortcuts.
  • Week 5
    • Tweaking screen reader settings for your own preferences, adjusting voice speed, limiting spoken text
    • Navigating your desktop environment, accessing programs using taskbar and virtual desktops
  • Week 6
    • Updating your screen reader, running portable copies of NVDA and backing up/restoring your settings
  • Week 7
    • Challenges: how to overcome them
    • How to determine accessibility issues and provide feedback
    • What are your backup solutions? how to work-around and tools at your arsenal
  • Week 8
    • Using a Braille display, different Braille grades, grade 1, Grade 2 UEB/US/UK or other Braille tables.
    • Possible displays, such as Focus 40 Blue, QBraille, or Brilliant BI 40
    • Modifier keys, differences between desktop and laptop layout.
  • Week 9
    • How to get the sighted on your side.
  • Week 10
    • Ribbons, menus, access keys, keyboard shortcuts
  • Week 11
    • What have we learned?
  • Week 12
    • Further tips and tricks
  • Week 13
    • How to find further resources for support/mailing lists etc
  • Week 14
    • Revision
  • Week 15
    • Exam/Quiz?
  • Week 16
    • Deep dive into specific use cases.
  • Week 17
    • PDFs, OCR and other goodness.
  • Week 18
    • Scripting with JAWS, Python joy and how to contribute to opensource addons or drivers.


In Semester 2 of 2020 Rob Whyte delivered content with guest speakers.
This course is running archived in semester 1 of 2021. For contact info, please see the ContactStaffAndInstructors page. To contact the course instructors via email, please use Rob AT ciscovision dot org. This is also the address to which you should send completed assignments for this class.


This course runs for approximately 18 weeks and costs $100 USD. Paypal information will be given to you upon acceptance of this course. If you are experiencing financial hardship you can present evidence with your submission of hardship to our administration for consideration.

Recordings of lectures and consultations

For recordings of delivered content, retrieve the username password combination you were given at introduction and see the Screen reader files shell

Accessing Wiki files

Week 1 notes.txt Week 1 lecture.mp3

Week 2 notes.txt Week 2 lecture.mp3

Week 3 notes.txt Week 3 lecture.mp3 Week 3 test.txt

Week 4 notes.txt Week 4 lecture.mp3

Week 5 notes.txt Week 5 lecture.mp3

Week 6 notes.txt Week 6 lecture.mp3

Week 7 notes.txt Week 7 lecture.mp3

Week 8 notes.txt Week 8 lecture.mp3

Week 9 notes.txt Week 9 lecture.mp3

Week 10 notes.txt Week 10 lecture.mp3

Week 11 notes.txt Week 11 lecture.mp3

Week 12 notes.txt Week 11 lecture.mp3

Week 13 notes.txt Week 13 lecture.mp3

Week 14 notes.txt Week 14 lecture.mp3

Week 15 notes.txt Week 15 lecture.mp3

Week 16 notes.txt Week 16 lecture.mp3

Week 17 notes.txt Week 17 lecture.mp3

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Page last modified on January 31, 2021, at 02:12 PM