[Athen] Software licensing for student use on laptops

Larry Kiser larry.kiser at sfcollege.edu
Fri Oct 12 10:53:45 PDT 2012

At our institution we created an ADA profile that IT installed on 35 plus computers on our main campus and at our centers. Our IT department never supported installing adaptive software on a college server so networking is not a viable option. ADA computers are located in all the Learning Labs, Library, Assessment Center, and other computer labs. That profile includes the following items.

KURZWEIL 3000 WEB VERSION 13 - provides reading, brainstorming, and writing support
WINPRINT UTILITY (recently learned that the Focus 80 w JAW can be used in combination to type directly into MS Word using contracted Braille)
SMARTNAV SOFTWARE & DRIVER - provides hands free mouse control primarily to users with loss of upper extremity motor control
CLICK N' TYPE VIRTUAL KEYBOARD - provides an on-screen virtual keyboard for access to anyone with a disability that prevents them from using a physical keyboard
MATH PLAYER - provides enlargement and text-to-speech output of mathematical notations on the computer for users with math & reading-related impairments

We have other adaptive software on select staff computers that we have the ability to configure. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is one such application that gets a fair amount of use. The reason it is not in the profile is that IT was adverse to installing individual licenses on each computer. Nuance is part of the problem because they do not have volume licensing for higher education as they do for K through 12. A couple of years ago we converted 18 JAWS standalone licenses to USB licenses. When students insert the JAWS dongles into the ADA computers JAWS is fully functioning. We have 50 licenses of ZT that were accumulated through the years. We have considered converting those to USB versions as well. The drawback in doing so is that unlike JAWS, Zoomtext will not run in a demo version after it is opened a few times without the ZT USB attached. Thus students with low vision would not have instant access, even for a short time.

We had 30 K3000 licenses that we converted to the Web version with the subscription active until 2015. The web version allows us to provide students with a client install copy for installations on whatever computer they choose including Macs. Many are installing it on their laptops and use the wireless campus infrastructure to access K3000 in classrooms as well as common areas. The Firefly reading support feature of K3000 allows students to access documents stored in their Universal Library from any computer using a web browser. There is a Firefly app for iPads as well. This is very popular software, especially when combined with our office working with students and publishers to obtain PDF versions of textbooks. We also purchased adaptive joystick and trackball input devices that do not require software installations.

While we are doing what we can to promote access this model is still problematic. Due to administrative rights and security setting issues some AT features on the campus computers are disabled and automatic updates are not allowed. Other glitches arising after the profile check and ghosting necessitate workarounds. Another access problem we are now confronted with is that our IT department is setting up thin client computer labs. I have made them aware of the negative impact this will have on the functions of adaptive technologies. From my research it appears that even if a thin client image is projected to a desktop computer, adaptive technology may not interact properly with that image. Perhaps the University of Toledo project will solve such a dilemma. One final computer access issue I find at our institution is that again due to security settings the MS Ease of Access features on the remaining desktop computers will not work. I would be grateful if someone can suggest a solution to that problem.

Larry Kiser
Counseling Specialist
Disabilities Resource Center, S-233
Santa Fe College
Gainesville, FL 32606
Phone: 352-395-4429
Fax: 352-395-4100

-----Original Message-----
From: Kathleen Cahill [mailto:kcahill at MIT.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:25 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Software licensing for student use on laptops

Hi Colleagues,

More and more, as our students use laptops in ever greater numbers, we find our current model of assistive technology software purchasing and distribution is becoming irrelevant. Right now we have a lab with desktop computers and AT software installed on them which are not getting the use they once did. What kinds of models do some of you have at your universities to loan software to students? Do you loan software for a specific period of time? Do you buy copies of software for students? How do you budget for and fund this?

We know that the AT lab model is becoming a thing of the past but I sure would love to know what you are doing as our AT models evolve.

Thank you,


Kathleen Cahill
Assistive Technology Specialist
MIT ATIC (Assistive Tech. Info. Center)
77 Mass. Ave. 7-143
Cambridge MA 02139
(617) 253-5111
kcahill at mit.edu

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