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Information Technology

Disruption Resilience: Universal Access Technologies

The UMass Amherst community has a wide variety of access technology resources which can help with learning, teaching, communicating and collaborating. In addition to the resources already available at UMass Amherst through the Assistive Technology Center (ATC), many vendors have responded to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by making additional resources available to university users.
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Assistive Technology Tools

Kurzweil Read The Web

Kurzweil’s Read the Web browser extension reads webpages aloud, with 30 natural text to speech voices in 17 languages and dialects. 
Read the Web is free during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. For more information, see

Get started with Read the Web in Chrome

  1. Download Read the Web extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Install the extension and log in with the username 'readtheweb' and password '12345'.

TextHelp Read & Write and Equatio

TextHelp is offering free access to its Read and Write and Equatio programs for students and faculty.​

  • Read & Write is a desktop application and web browser extension that allows people to read documents (including pdfs) and websites using text-to-speech.
  • Equatio is a tool that will let anyone dictate complex math equations into a Google or Word document.

More information and download links can be found on the TextHelp website

Aira Visual Interpreter

Aira Visual Interpreter connects blind and low-vision people to remote agents to deliver instant access to visual information.

  • To assist with usability of remote learning materials and tools, Aira is offering Visual Interpreter to students at no cost for the remainder of spring semester.
  • Learn more and request access at


Jaws for Windows is a screen-reader for the Windows platform. ZoomText is a magnifier.  Fusion combines the two into one platform meant to provide access for blind/low-vision users of windows machines. Jaws, ZoomText, and Fusion are available at no cost through June 30, 2020 for university students, faculty, and staff. Learn more and get started at the Freedom Scientific Website.  

UMass Amherst Assistive Technology Center

The UMass Amherst Assistive Technology Center (ATC) can help provide training for students, staff, and faculty on UMass - supported assistive technology tools such as those listed below. If you are having difficulty accessing work or school through the university's online class platforms and need assistive technology support, get in touch by emailing

You can also receive assistive technology as a documented accomodation if you are registered with the UMass Amherst Office of Accessible Workplace

Guides & Other Resources

Meet Me Accessibility is a free audio guide to using Zoom with a screen reader

Microsoft Accessibility is sharing resources and guidance on Twitter @MSFTEnable and with the hashtag #MSFTEnable