[Athen] Screen readers/other software

Marks, Jim marks at mso.umt.edu
Tue Apr 15 12:13:26 PDT 2008

It's good to hear that you have things covered at your institution,
Susan. My experience is that many other institutions will wiggle out of
their responsibilities unless someone calls for accountability. After
all, access follows advocacy and does not happen on its own. People
with disabilities have too much life to live to wait on others to do the
right thing. That's why your admonishment to stop assuming makes little
sense to me. I've seen the discriminatory practice of using low quality
technology in place of the good stuff. I've seen people put budgets
ahead of civil rights. I've been burned by bad technology, and I've
seen others with disabilities burned as well. Why is this experience so
threatening to you? Who are you defending? I really am curious since
it's obvious you care deeply about equal access and the appropriate use
of technology. Heck, I even agree with you that most colleges do right
by their assistive technology obligations. However, beyond any shadow
of a doubt, there are many institutions that are not so enlightened.
And things are not helped a bit when businesses capitalize on prejudices
with sly marketing techniques and unreachable promises. The assumption
that all is good seems foolish to me, but the assumption that we can
trust institutions to do what they have shown us they will do not only
makes good sense, it's a necessity.

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 Kelmer, Susan M.
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 6:49 AM
To: Access Technologists in Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Screen readers/other software

My only concern with your comments, Jim, is that you make the assumption
that we are providing either/or, i.e., Premier/others. That's not the
case. We provide it all, as do most other campuses. Everyone knows
that you get what you pay for, and we also all know that sometimes
low-tech and low-cost is effective for a certain process, and not
effective for another. Stop assuming we are replacing things like
Zoomtext and WYNN and Read and Write with Premier, and you'll stop
hearing from me on the subject.

My licensing for the Premiere suite is about $1000 per year. That has
been relatively cost-effective for us. Of course, it depends on
where/how we deploy it, as well.

And I wouldn't trade Text-to-Audio for just about anything, at this
point. It is the MOST-used Premier product for me and has been for
about five years now. I could not get my work done without it.

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