[Athen] What's up with AT?

Mark C. Mintz mmintz at pasadena.edu
Wed Jun 30 08:17:09 PDT 2021


We have, and I do train my students on Kurzweil. We have a site license, which I switched to the “Sign in with Google” login structure. It was painful for some of my older students because they wipe all the accounts and start over with empty shells. Students who didn’t respond that they needed me to back up their books lost access to older books, though mostly I was able to replace them. This move, however, means anyone can use their PCC email address to log into Kurzweil and “self help”. This summer, I am vetting videos and making new videos to fill any gaps I identify, and will be posting them on an open Canvas page for all PCC students interested in learning about Assistive Technology, and will start a campaign along with our Accessibility Standards Committee to spread information about these tools.

I did this because some instructors (Non-credit English, ESL, etc) have asked for access to this tool, or were planning on buying something similar, and the hope is if it gets enough traction outside DSPS, it can be funded by the district rather than out of DSPS funds.

The way I’m tracking who is versus isn’t DSPS is I am adding DSPS students to “my class”, and everyone else to a default class. I’m keeping OER material and other “open” documents (handouts from various classes) in the teacher account’s public folder as a way to entice students to use it, and share instructions on uploading PDFs to Kurzweil3000.com. This at least gives us utilization statistics for the DSP&S students.

I also teach a lot of students about immersive reading modes in various browsers. Microsoft Edge probably has the best, but there are others. These free tools are available to anyone and work better than the paid software in certain circumstances. There are a lot of people who can benefit from just knowing these tools are there, so I feel it is appropriate to support these tools by training my students. I advocated for adding Immersive Reading mode to our Canvas shell, and I have been satisfied with the feedback from DE. Unfortunately we don’t get any usage data from these types of tools, but since these are web only tools, if they need the same support for other readings, they’ll be using K3000 or other tools as well, and I can track them through alt media numbers if they qualify for DSP&S services, and if not, I have helped de-stigmatize Assistive Technology with a general population student.

I think it’s important for us to keep in mind these students are moving on someday, and they will need to have tools they can use. Maybe someone will fund Kurzweil, Dragon, Read and write, or whatever for them after college. Maybe they can afford it themselves. The chances are, free or cheap tools will meet 90% of their needs. They do not need to struggle because they no longer have access to the “Cadillac” tools.

Mark Mintz
Assistive Technology Specialist
Pasadena City College

PCC Stands against hate<https://pasadena.edu/about/no-hate.php>

Kurzweil 3000 is now available to all students! Kurzweil is a reading support web app that will read aloud any text provided – and has access to a variety of reading support tools like highlighting and notetaking. Try it today! Log into Kurzweil3000<https://www.kurzweil3000.com/> using the “Sign in with Google” link.

DSP&S is using a new Student Management System, and students need to reach out to their teacher-specialist to ensure their documentation is up to date. If you have any questions about the new system, please ask!

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Laurie Vasquez
Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 4:16 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Cc: NYS Disability Services Council <NYSDSC-L at listserv.binghamton.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] What's up with AT?

Excellent question. We use Readspeaker in CAnvas but today I.T. wanted to move to Immersive reader in Canvas. VDI and assistive technologies?
This Post-Covid recovery will require more strategic planning ahead!

Looking forward to discussion.
Laurie Vasquez
Faculty Assistive Technologies Specialist
Santa Barbara City College

On Thu, Jun 17, 2021 at 7:02 AM Kurkjian, Nazely <Nazely.Kurkjian at suny.edu<mailto:Nazely.Kurkjian at suny.edu>> wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you've had a restful and fun start to your summer!

I'm thinking a lot about how we approached AT in the past and how we will approach AT now/in the future. At our system, many of our campuses don't have AT specialists. As such, we've all landed on one or two "Cadillac" TTS technologies to support disabled students. For those who do have AT specialists, I trust they have more expertise and time to conduct research and work more individually with students on what's built into their devices and what works best for them.

Over the course of the pandemic, we had to pivot to various technologies that integrated with exam security software and other third party products to provide equitable access. Many of our campuses are coming back fully in person in the Fall. Others will continue hyflex and hybrid delivery models (several were already doing this pre-COVID).

That being said, have you shifted your perspective and purchases re: literacy / text to speech assistive technologies?

Have you moved from commonly used software like Kurzweil or Read&Write to products like ReadSpeaker? If so, will you continue to use ReadSpeaker - in addition to or instead of Kurzweil and Read&Write?

Also curious - How are you assessing AT utilization and effectiveness?



[cid:image001.jpg at 01D76D84.532519D0]
Nazely Kurkjian, CPACC (she/hers)
SUNY System EIT Accessibility Officer
The State University of New York
H. Carl McCall Building - Albany, New York 12246

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