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News Release

Adaptive Computer System to Serve Visually Impaired at Moravian

Imagine a computer system that allows a visually impaired person to place a book on a flatbed scanner, push a button, and ten seconds later have the system reading the scanned pages out loud --a system that allows the blind to read!

Moravian College now has a new adaptive system that serves low vision and blind students and persons with alternate learning style preferences. It is being installed this week at Reeves Library.

The system is based on a PC running Windows 98. It includes four main applications:

JAWS: A speech synthesis program that allows totally blind persons to navigate through Windows and Windows applications such as word processors, email and Web browsers.

    * OPENBOOK: A program that takes scanned documents such as books, converts them to text using Optical Character Recognition technology, and reads the documents out loud. OPENBOOK allows the blind to read virtually any book, magazine or other printed material.

    * WYN: Software to present information in many different ways to assist learners who need flexibility in how they engage the material they need to learn.

    * ZOOMTEXT: Enlarges text to allow persons with low vision to read text off a screen. A Braille-N-Speak that functions as a Braille notepad with speech synthesis was also acquired as part of the project.

The adaptive computer system was purchased from Bartimaeus Group of McLean, VA. Their representative, Mark Reumann, is on campus this week to install the new system and train Moravian College personnel and students. On Thursday, March 25, Reumann will conduct from 9:00 a.m. to 12: 00 noon on Windows 98, Jaws, Openbook. From 1:00 p.m to 2:30 p.m. he will provide training on WYN.

"This is very exciting. We're doing something for our students that strained the imagination not long ago," said Ron Helmuth, director, Center for Information and Technology, "The system represents a strong commitment by the College to serve students with adaptive needs," he said.

The system is housed on the main floor of Moravian’s Reeves Library. It will be supported and administered by the Academic Assistance Office, Reeves Library staff, and the Center for Information and Technology. More information is available by calling the Academic Assistance Office at (610) 861-1510.