[Athen] Virtual Labs
sarojprimlani at gmail.com
Tue Jun 28 11:37:01 PDT 2011
Before my retirement from NC State I have done extensive work on
accessibility of remote application. If I understand you correctly you are
planing to deploy Windows application using a image on a remote server and
use RDP for access.
Around 2004 North Carolina State University's launched a Virtual Computing
Lab (VCL) which deploys images installed with user selected applications. It
is a reservation based remote access solution to all types of software
applications. RDP is the protocol used for Windows environment. Since that
is what you are planning on using I will focus on RDP. Vendors worked with
me to make this happen
While all environments all users to share most host / client resources and
keyboard and mouse inputs events are sent from the client to remote host
machine, video and audio output is redirected from the remote host the
local client machine.
Some major challenges include:
· Audio output latency from the remote host to client machine
· The remote video (display) is transmitted as an image of host video
output making it impossible for the screen reader on the user’s machine to
access that information
· Audio is not transmitted from the user's machine to remote host
which makes it difficult to functionally use voice recognition
Both audio latency and image of display make it a challenge for screen
readers. To make it work, the screen output must be processed on the remote
machine and sent to the client either 1) by converting to speech on the host
machine and transmitted as audio output to the user (creates unacceptable
lag to be functionally effective) or 2) by sending the captured data to the
speech engine on the user’s machine for audio / braille output. The braille
display is installed on the user machine
JAWS, VocalEyes and Dolphin's Super Nova all must be installed both on the
remote and host machine. When I last worked with them SuperNova and
VocalEyes authenticated for license on the on the remote machine and JAWS
authenticated the license on the user's machine. In addition it requires
the user to have the RDP enable version of the software. So in theory you
only need the license on either the remote or local machine.
Most screen magnification software feature magnification range, fonts and
cursor/mouse tracking which require constant monitoring of frame and video
changes, bit-map caching etc which need to be transmitted to the client. The
challenge is all these delta changes in the video image must be transmitted
to the client machine without any lag or degradation.
I was unable to get ZoomText to work. Dolphin's SuperNova was the best with
little lag and shadowing and MAGic worked, however it would shadow if the
user moved between the remote application and their local desktop. The AT
needed to be installed on both the remote and local machine. Again JAWS
authenticated on the user's machine
The software tools had no way of sending the audio data to the speech engine
on the local machine creating a latency between the audio output and screen
changes. For example, highlighted and spoken text were out of sync. Could
a problem for some. I was not able to get any of the vendors to work with
Speech Recognition is still a challenge as one cannot access the voice
recognition engine on the remote machine as audio is not transmitted from
local to remote.
Hope this helps. Things may have changed and improved but this was my
Feel free to contact me if I can help
On Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM, <
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> Today's Topics:
> 1. Re: virtual computer labs, AT and ADA? (Jon Pielaet)
> 2. Virtualized desktop image (Ozi, Selim)
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 09:19:52 -0600
> From: Jon Pielaet <jon.pielaet at mso.umt.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Athen] virtual computer labs, AT and ADA?
> To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
> <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
> Message-ID: <DDCB3E43-5126-4C97-96E8-B7DD4534BEC9 at mso.umt.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> I would treat a virtual computer lab the same way that you would a physical
> one. Some of our IT folks are playing around with the idea of virtual labs
> too. I think the key is to provide a variety of accessibility options.
> In many of our labs we provide screen readers, magnification, speech
> recognition and some kind of scan-and-read software. I would think if
> virtual labs are a part of a program then providing accessibility to them
> would be the institution's legal responsibility.
> The virtual lab concept introduces some technical problems for AT. A few
> examples of this are; speech recognition input and screen reader output over
> remote desktop. (RDP requires an additional license for JAWS)
> Generally speaking, the best way to avoid licensing agreement issues is to
> use a network licensing system. Freedom Scientific has a licensing server
> that works with JAWS, MaGic, and WYNN. Other vendors have similar offerings
> but it is always best to ask the software companies you work with about
> Jon P. Pielaet
> Program Assistant for Instructional Materials
> Disability Services for Students
> Emma B. Lommasson 154
> The University of Montana
> Missoula, MT 59812
> 406-243-2243 Voice/Text
> 406-243-4461 Direct Line
> 406-243-5330 Fax
> On Jun 27, 2011, at 7:59 AM, Kenneth Elkind wrote:
> > UMB is experimenting with virtual computer labs. I was able to install
> and use a wide range of ATsoftware. My question is more related to policy
> and legal responsibility. Is the providing accessibility for students with
> disabilities in a virtual computer lab and what assistive technology should
> be mandatory if any?
> > How are the licenses of the software managed without violating the AT
> company license agreement?
> > Kenneth Elkind
> > Assistive Technology Specialist
> > (617) 287- 5243
> > Kenneth.elkind at umb.edu
> > Skype User Number: adaptiveumb
> > Adaptive Computer Lab
> > Maximizing Learning Potential
> > Learn about the Adaptive Computer Lab
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> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 09:41:28 -0600
> From: "Ozi, Selim" <sozi1 at mscd.edu>
> Subject: [Athen] Virtualized desktop image
> To: "athen-list at u.washington.edu" <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
> <988AD2761168FB4BA162C5F96A122ADA89C6EC at E2K7VS.services.metro>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> At Metro State , we have been currently experiencing and piloting VDI for
> our users, for a while ( 1300 student registered with our services)
> Currently through Microsoft architecture/RD2 servers /HyperV module/Active
> directory/ SharePoint etc.. to provide alternative access to our physical
> computer labs : 900 PC - 300 dual boot I mac image ( 38 ADA stations= 18
> specialized stations)
> - Our planning started with purchasing Campus/site licensing or
> concurrent where applicable.( you server team can contact each company
> software developer for their policy, found out contacting sales/admin is
> not a time beneficial if you are an IT guy like me)
> - Currently our VDI consist of I.E/Firefox, Office(including one
> note), Adobe Pro, Omni Page 17 Jaws, Read &write gold & Dragon ( still can't
> get Zoom text to work properly not only as software but as company as well)
> on Windows 7 image.( where users at home can login with XP through hyperV)
> - Our primary Goal is to provide Accessible user interface for our
> Print disable students and provide accessible online class management
> through Blackboard as well as our SunGard banner system. Our second phase (
> we are currently testing) either to go with HI software or Fireyes installed
> for our Blackboard/Metro Connect servers/Web servers for
> Audit/evaluation/repair tool for Campus compliance.
> To answer your question my best suggestion is to plan purchasing software's
> can have multiple features and flexible with remote services ( Kurzweil and
> Don Johnston are not there yet) like Read&write gold
> Lesser the software's in your image is easier to handle and fix any issues
> such as drivers etc., another critical part is to prepare accessible
> templates and splash screens for user rights and specs when they are logging
> to your system.
> I hope this helps and if you have questions please contact me for specific
> Selim Özi.
> Access Center ,
> Disability Accommodations And Adaptive Technology for
> Metropolitan State College of Denver.
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