Technology may be offered to students who have been approved for alternative format materials or Notetaking Services. Technology may include, but is not limited to:

  • Accessible PDF: Portable Document Formats (PDFs) are static images.  An accessible PDF allows for text recognition, tags to indicate heading structures, and adds alternative text to images when possible; all of which allows the document to be utilized with text to speech software.
  • Bookshare: Provides quick and easy access to the largest library of textbooks for people who face reading barriers.  Once approved by DSP you may login and customize your reading experience.
  • Braille: For students who are Blind/Low Vision you may be approved for Braille upon request.  Please note that Braille requests need significant lead time (in some cases a few months) for completion and you are encouraged to provide your schedule and list of books to dspAT@usc.edu as soon as possible.
  • E-PUB: An electronic book file that uses a file extension that is supported by many e-readers and is compatible with most software used on smartphones, tablets and computers.  This is often a superior format to PDF as it supports reflowable content versus a static image.
  • Google Drive: DSP utilizes Google Drive feature to help you keep track of all converted textbooks and materials.  Once approved for alternative format, DSP will create a file in which to house textbooks specific to your courses each term to allow for ease of access.
  • Kurzweil: A downloadable license (PC or Mac)and a web based platform are provided for approved students by DSP for the duration of their tenure of USC. Kurzweil is a quality text-to-speech
  • Learning Ally: An audiobook solution that allows for a significant library of human read audiobooks.  DSP will provide access to specific textbooks once approved for alternative format accommodations.
  • PC & Mac Built in Text-to-Speech software: DSP is able to show you how to use your current computer’s built in text-to-speech software to read converted materials.
  • PC & Mac Built in Speech-to-Text software: DSP is able to show you how to use your current computer’s built in speech-to-text software.

Additional Resources

Technology available at UPC

Technology available at HSC

  • Occupational Therapy has one computer with NVDA and Kurzweil capabilities for OT students approved for technology.

Other Assistive Technology (not provided by DSP)

  • QuickReader ($4.99) helps students learn to speed read and includes an online bookstore.
  • Vocabulary HD (Free) five levels of difficulty to improve your overall vocabulary.
  • Capti Narrator (Free & $1.99)converts documents and webpages into text to speech.  You can upload documents from Dropbox, Google Drive, Clipboard, Instapaper, or Web Browsers and listen immediately or save to a playlist.
  • Natural Reader (Free & $0.99) is a text to speech app that reads webpages, documents and e-books to you with natural sounding voices.
  • NVDA (Free) A high quality screen reader that is accessible to all individuals. DSP’s Assistive Technology Specialist can assist you in getting the software on your computer and training to learn how to navigate.
  • Balabolka (Free) A text-to-speech program that can read clipboard content, view text from documents and customize font and background color.
  • Voice Dream ($14.99) Text-to-speech that provides one free premium voice and additional for purchase. Can be used offline.
  • Easy Reader (Free) A reading app offered for Android and iOS.
  • NFB Newsline (Free through DSP) A free audio news service for anyone who is blind, low vision or otherwise print disabled. Offers over 500 publications, emergency weather alerts, job listings and more.
  • Read & Write ($145.00): A text-to-speech and speech-to-text tool that also offers prediction, picture dictionaries and summary highlighters along with grammar and spell check.
  • Microsoft Learning Tools (Read Aloud): A built in text-to-speech feature in Microsoft products such as Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and OneNote.
  • CaptiVoice (Free for basic) A text-to-speech app for listening to e-books, documents and webpages.
  • Mac VoiceOver (Free): Allows all aspects including links to be read aloud additionally for individuals who use a Braille Refresher VoiceOver Utility now offers an option in the Braille category.
  • JAWS ($90.00 annually): A screen reader that also utilizes ZoomText.
  • ZoomText ($625 - $2,100): Accessibility tool for individuals with visual impairments that require screen magnification and/or screen readers.
  • MathType ($40-$50 annually): An interactive equation editor that lets you create mathematical notations and have it read.

Recordings in the Classroom (Audio or Visual)

Under certain circumstances, a student with a disability may be approved for a classroom accommodation that involves audio recording of lectures or visual of information written or projected on the board in order to provide equal access to this student.

Students who have been approved for this accommodation sign an agreement with DSP, acknowledging their understanding that the recorded/photographed information is strictly for their personal use in the course, and is not to be shared with other individuals. Students also acknowledge that course lectures and materials are the protected intellectual property of the professor, and the student could be subject to disciplinary action for violating those rights and the signed agreement.

Limitations of this accommodation exist if recording or photographing would fundamentally alter the nature of the learning environment or the overall course.  If the course instructor has concerns or questions about this accommodation in their course, they are invited to contact DSP to discuss reasonable alternative accommodations the faculty might provide the student.

Instructors have the right to direct the student to stop recording during portions of the class that involve personal reflection, self-disclosure, or confidential discussions.