Thursday, February 2, 2012

Backspace Ate My Homework!

By Alan Regan

Disabling Backspace in Your Web Browser

A professor was writing feedback on student assessments online. After entering a lot of comments, he accidentally clicked out of a text box and clicked the backspace key on his keyboard -- swoosh! Gone! Most major web browsers use the backspace key as a keyboard shortcut for the "back button" operation. So, he basically navigated away from the page to an earlier one, wiping out his hard work.  And the same problem could happen to students completing online surveys or exams.  What can you do?

The goal here is to reserve the backspace key for editing text, not navigating back to an earlier web page. You can explore the following options to address this problem.

Browser Options Resources
Chrome third-party extension third-party link
Firefox configuration official link, third-party link
Internet Explorer none use Firefox (see above)
Safari third-party extension? use Firefox (see above)

What else can you do?

You can always report this as a feature request to the appropriate company.

Hat Tip: Thank you to Dr. Chris Heard of Seaver College's Religion Division for bringing this issue to our attention.

IMPORTANT: Please use caution when installing any third-party web browser extensions. Third-party extensions are not supported by the university. Before you attempt to install any third-party extensions, research them thoroughly on the web and only download from reputable websites. Also, make sure that your virus and anti-spyware software are up-to-date.