[Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Leyna Bencomo lbencomo at uccs.edu
Mon Apr 13 15:17:18 PDT 2020

Well said Wink.

I especially agree with the challenges of having students switch software on the fly. Another learning curve to get through in the midst of this difficult time. I’m trying my hardest to provide extra support via face time training on MS Teams with any new software changes. They are so grateful.

Leyna Bencomo, MA ILT
Assistive Technology Specialist
Office of Information Technology
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Available via Microsoft Teams
(719) 255-4202 / lbencomo at uccs.edu<mailto:lbencomo at uccs.edu>

[sig logo small]

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Wink Harner
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2020 1:27 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Replacing Assistive Tech Products

Consider also setting up SOME of your institutional software on servers accessible through open portal logins. Many software (read & write, Kurzweil, and others can be accessed through the portal. Check to see which programs you use can be accessed successfully through an open portal login and work with IT.

Find out how robust a program your students need and work on some free/open source software options (for example, NVDA is a good substitute for JAWS; Alternatively you college's licenses for JAWS can be downloaded to flash drives and your BVI students can use it from anywhere.

Dragon NS is designed to be user/computer-specific and works best on an individual computer linked to a specific speaker's profile. Might be best to see if you can negotiate a volume discount through Nuance. There are other dictation options to consider, but first and foremost, consider what the student is using it for and why. Most of the other dictation programs (free or low cost) do not offer robust vocabulary or voice editing, and students cannot compose research papers with other available software, or use it to control the computer. None of the other dictation programs offer corrections by voice and many do not automatically save & update a voice profile, making the program improve with use. With a volume discount on DNS licenses, remember these can be reused in the future. In the case of students off-site, purchase the licenses with download links rather than cd/dvd copies. You can send the download links to the students. You should cover the cost of noise-canceling headset mics (and don't expect them back at the end of the term --they're expendable!). The software licenses can be reused in the future. Dictation with math works well for lower-level math using Equatio, but not (yet) with the higher level maths. Your best bet there is to either purchase DNS download links and add download links for MathTalk and Scientific Notebook or a download link for DNS and talk to Nancilu McClellan at Metroplex Voice Computing to see if MathTalk and Scientific Notebook will operate OK if loaded on the college server and the student with DNS loaded on their home computer can log in through an open portal to use SN & MT. She's knowledgeable and helpful and will work with your IT folks to find the best solution. Equatio for some; MathTalk + Scientific Notebook with Dragon Naturally Speaking for others.

Others have already added some valuable options. My advice is to weigh what the students need first and present a list of what can be loaded onto a server & accessed through an open portal login, what needs to be provided to individual students for individual use off-site, and what would be OK to substitute with free or open source software. Stay away from multiple individual purchases or software requiring monthly/annual subscriptions as these end up costing much more in the long run and we can't ask students to either purchase the software on their own or pay for the subscriptions.

Asking the students to switch software without advance notice or without training/support or practice, especially if it happens with a deadline for a paper or assignment, or if there's a test involved is not recommended. Maybe putting together a list of 3-4 different options for students and letting them choose (in advance of deadlines or tests) with some training guidelines and support would be helpful.

My thoughts. Hope these are useful for the general good.
Wink Harner
Accessibility Consultant/Alternative Text Production
The Foreign Type
Portland OR
foreigntype at gmail.com<mailto:foreigntype at gmail.com>
This email was dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Please forgive quirks, misrecognitions, or errata .

On Mon, Apr 13, 2020 at 8:43 AM Robert Spangler <rspangler1 at udayton.edu<mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu>> wrote:
Hello everyone:

Unfortunately, as a result of recent events, our leadership at UD is asking which AT products are we able to cancel for the 2020-21 academic year. I am writing here to seek suggestions for free or lower-cost alternatives. These products include:
Read and Write - I know that there are free text-to-speech alternatives available. Can anyone recommend some for me to try? What would I lose from Read and Write if I decided to opt for a free or low-cost solution?

Dragon - This one I feel will be harder to replace, but I'm looking for opinions. I've already begun teaching my Mac students how to use the built-in Mac Dictation, which is pretty good. Also, Nuance no longer supports MacOS. Windows is a problem, however. Last time I checked, Windows dictation didn't even come close to being as accurate as Dragon. So again, any thoughts on this are welcome.


• OLR will be available via phone and email Mon-Fri from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The office in Roesch 023 will not be open until further notice.
• Appointments for Disability Services, accommodations, and Voluntary Medical Withdrawals will be conducted via telephone. To schedule, call 937-229-2066.
• Academic Coaching, Supplemental Instruction (SI), Tutoring, and the Write Place will be accessible remotely.
• For instructions and current OLR updates, visit go.udayton.edu/learning<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgo.udayton.edu%2Flearning&data=02%7C01%7Clbencomo%40uccs.edu%7C2a60a5a4f4964b26965708d7dfe12ae0%7C529343fae8c8419fab2ea70c10038810%7C1%7C0%7C637224030513966744&sdata=FnwveZiz0rWJCPPpbhyRGuT5a1FR2pD2CriupAanOkQ%3D&reserved=0>

Robert Spangler
Disability Services Technical Support Specialist
rspangler1 at udayton.edu<mailto:rspangler1 at udayton.edu>
Office of Learning Resources (OLR) - RL 023
Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center (LTC)
University of Dayton | 300 College Park | Dayton, Ohio 45469-1302
Phone: 937-229-2066
Fax: 937-229-3270
Ohio Relay: 711 (available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing)
Web Site: http://go.udayton.edu/learning<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgo.udayton.edu%2Flearning&data=02%7C01%7Clbencomo%40uccs.edu%7C2a60a5a4f4964b26965708d7dfe12ae0%7C529343fae8c8419fab2ea70c10038810%7C1%7C0%7C637224030513993387&sdata=ir3LWGBN7%2FmvoMt53s9g5P1v%2B1wG%2B5ugLjCfJdfFJKo%3D&reserved=0>
athen-list mailing list
athen-list at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at mailman12.u.washington.edu>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20200413/21fd4adc/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.png
Type: image/png
Size: 15239 bytes
Desc: image001.png
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20200413/21fd4adc/attachment.png>

More information about the athen-list mailing list