[Athen] [ATHEN] Screen readers/other software

Ron Stewart ron.stewart at dolphinusa.com
Mon Apr 7 16:06:46 PDT 2008

Evening all,

I have not looked into it for a while but the cost of Premiers grant after the first year used to be proportional to the total student population of your institution. In a recent review of their website, it appears they may have changed that pricing structure. Not sure and it does behoove some investigation if you are looking at this type of solution for your campus but let the buyer beware.

I am going to probably get in more trouble that Jim here, but there is a variety of inexpensive AT products that have surfaced in the last couple of years and my basic rule of thumb is that most of them are fine for a student to buy for themselves or not buy as the case may be. I would not want to be working for an institution that based their entire AT strategy on what is cheap and easy to get, in particular if I was the one that made such a professionally untenable decision. There are some schools that have done this and they decided to settle the cases out of court at much more than it would have cost to buy the good stuff the first time around.

Ron Stewart

From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Shawn Foster
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 6:55 PM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Screen readers/other software

$40,000? Wow, you must have WAY more computers on campus than we do.... Ours is $2,000 for approximately 2100 computers campus-wide, and the grant specifically stated that we could keep the software without the SMA, we just wouldn't be eligible for upgrades and tech support.

Premier has been very helpful for a number of our LD students, as well as students whose first language is not English, students who prefer dual-sensory input. Many non-disabled students are beginning to use it as another tool in the learning arsenal. We have faculty who use the software, as well.

That being said, I absolutely agree with Jim that Premier is NOT adequate on its own for AT purposes. (I'd never recommend Universal Reader in place of JAWS, for example. Yikes!) We have a number of other applications in place that are more hefty supports for those who need them. Premier is just ONE of the options that we provide for students in the quest for universal access.

Happy Monday, all!

Shawn Foster
Assistive Technology Specialist

Disability Services for Students
Southern Oregon University
V/TTY: (541)552-6213

>>> On 4/7/2008 at 3:28 PM, in message <866D94404CE9D049B12203795063D4DCBCD39E at Dccdmail3.dccd.cc.ca.us>, "Daryl Murphy" <dmurphy at collegeofthedesert.edu> wrote:

I agree. The premier grant last for 1 year and then sends out an invoice for $40,000 to keep the suite as a site license, otherwise you are running an un-authorize version which according to Premier’s ULA as pirated software.

From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Marks, Jim
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 03:17
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Screen readers/other software

Hi Carol,

Every time I say this, it seems to cause troubles. But, here goes anyhow.

Premier is fine, but it will not replace better assistive technology. In my opinion, Premier should serve as a supplement, never the only option a campus uses to comply with civil rights laws. Premier does some things well, but it does less than what more expensive assistive technologies can do. Function has to be a primary concern, and colleges should find the money it takes to provide the best access. I think of Premier as a low-cost alternative in which one gets what one pays for. I also think the Premier grant thing is a marketing scheme, not really a grant.

People with disabilities should have the tools it takes to participate fully in higher education. It's wrong to barter away equal access just to save a buck. On the other hand, if the less costly alternative works, then go for it. Some make the argument that many don't need all the bells and whistles, and there is merit to that argument. Premier will not work as well as the more expensive options, though, and making sure our post-secondary programs are accessible is sort of the whole point. We need tools that work well. Reliance on Premier alone just won't do the trick.

Jim Marks
Director of Disability Services
University of Montana
jim.marks at umontana.edu


From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Carol Raymundo
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 12:54 PM
To: athen at athenpro.org
Subject: [Athen] Screen readers/other software

I am wondering if anyone uses Premier Literacy software (formerly Premier Assistive Technology).

Has anyone taken advantage of their grant program? If so, what do you like and what don't you like about the program?

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