Rock Valley College

Chapter 7: Assistive Technologies (AT)

Special software or equipment, generally referred to as Assistive Technology, is located at a variety of locations on campus. The following are some common types of assistive technologies available at RVC for students. More detailed information can be found by clicking on the hyperlinks.



JAWS & ZoomText: JAWS is a screen magnification software that will magnify whatever is on a student’s screen including programs such as Microsoft Edge, MS Office, and Websites such as YouTube or Amazon.
ZoomText offers students the ability to focus on a particular section of a desktop screen and is great for reading Word Docs, PDFs, and E-mail. ZoomText also has a speech output software that reads aloud text from the aforementioned programs.

NVDA: NVDA is a free, open source screen reader available for Windows. NVDA has robust support for browsing the web using Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, the Microsoft Office suite, and built-in Windows apps. NVDA supports customizable options for increasing and decreasing the screen size, a speech synthesizer which supports over 50 languages and can run refreshable braille displays and keyboards via USB. 

Dragon Naturally Speaking: Dragon speech recognition software makes it easier for anyone to use a computer. Dragon responds to a user's voice to create and edit documents or E-mails, launch applications, open files, control a mouse, and more. Dragon can assist students with composing written papers and documents and can be especially helpful for those with physical or manual dexterity limitations.

Kurzweil 3000 (K3000)K3000 is an all-in-one educational software program that includes text-to-speech, “OpenDyslexic” font arrangement, Daisy, EPUB, and PDF file readers, all designed to provide support for those who struggle with literacy in the classroom. K3000 software is available for students to use at the RVC Testing Center, in the Assistive Technology Lab (located in ERC 1114) and on DSS laptops that can be loaned on a semester basis.

AMIS: AMIS is a software program most commonly used to read DAISY books. AMIS is a free, open source program which provides audio output. No specialized screen-reading software is needed in order for it to be used by users who are visually impaired. Students will receive download instructions for AMIS once they have requested the DAISY alternative format accommodation and met with the Assistive Technology Specialist.  

Dolphin EasyReader: Dolphin is a premium software suite which reads DAISY, EPUB, and BookShare files. A free version of the software is available and can be downloaded to a students IPhone, IPad, or Android device.

The Disability Support Services office has a limited number licenses for the above-mentioned software. Students wishing to use these programs should contact the DSS office via phone: (815) 921-2371, E-mail:, or stop by to schedule an appointment.

Assistive Technology (AT) Lab

Located on the first floor of the Library (ERC-1114), the AT lab contains two workstations that are loaded with ZoomText Extra, JAWS, Dragon Naturally Speaking, and Kurzweil 3000 software. In addition, there is one closed-circuit television (CCTV)* in the lab that can be used for magnifying and reading printed materials. The lab is available for student use during regular library hours. For assistance regarding the AT lab, students should contact the Library’s Circulation Desk (815) 921-4615.

*Another CCTV is available in the Testing Center, located on the ground floor of the Student Center.

Hardware (Loaner Program)


DSS has a variety of assistive technology equipment (example: digital recorders, Livescribe smart-pens,  alternative keyboards, iPads, etc.) that can be checked out free-of-charge on a semester-by-semester basis.



  • New students should let the Accommodations Specialist know of their desire to use AT during their Welcome Meeting.  Current students may request to loan AT by calling: (815) 921-2371, E-mailing:, or stopping by the DSS office.

  • Once approved for AT, this accommodation will be added to the student's accommodation eligibility and included on the Notification Letter to Faculty.

  • Students using AT must schedule an appointment with the Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist.  At this appointment students will learn how to use and maintain the equipment and will complete a loaner agreement form that outlines responsibilities for using the AT.

  • Students are responsible for contacting the DSS office regarding any questions or concerns they may have in relation to this accommodation. 

Important Considerations for Loaning AT

  • Requests for AT are processed in the order that they are received. It is preferable that any requests for AT be made at least one week before the start of the term.
  • AT loans are on a semester-by-semester basis. If a student has an item on loan and would like to renew the loan for the next semester, the item must first be returned to the DSS office by the date specified on the Loaner Agreement Form prior to being re-checked out.
  • The student is responsible for the care of the equipment and may be responsible for any costs associated with damage to the equipment or if the equipment is lost or stolen.
  • A hold will be placed on a student's account for any AT not returned to DSS by the specified due date.
  • The student should inform DSS as soon as possible of any problems with using loaned equipment such as digital recorders or Livescribe Smartpens in classes/meetings, uploading files to a computer or other technological issues.


For more information, or to receive training on any AT please contact the Assistive Technology Specialist, Fred Williams, at (815) 921-2355 or via E-mail at