Assistive Technology | Webster University

Assistive Technology

Alternative Format Textbooks And Materials

Alternative Format textbook/material is an accommodation provided to Webster University students registered with accommodations through the Academic Resource Center.

In order to receive alternative format textbook services through the Academic Resource Center, a Webster student must be documented with a disability for which the agreed-upon academic accommodations include alternative format textbooks. (This is a fairly common accommodation for many types of visual and learning disabilities; if you have documented a disability but your accommodations do not explicitly include alternative-format textbooks, please consult with either the ARC or your local site director in order to add this accommodation.) The ARC processes alternative format textbook requests for all Webster campuses. If you are interested in alternative format textbooks and materials as one of your accommodations, please contact the ADA coordinator at 314-246-7700.

The Assistive Technology Coordinator coordinates and converts printed materials (such as textbooks or articles) into an electronic format so they can be accessed via computer, phone, or tablet. Formats typically include Kurzweil, PDF image, PDF readable, RTF, electronic text enlargement, audio, and Braille.

Alternative Format Text Policy and Guidelines

  • Ensure that you are properly documented for accommodations with the ARC or with your local campus.
  • You are required to rent or purchase a copy of the text that is provided in an alternative format. 
  • You will be asked to provide a receipt or proof of purchase or rental of the text.
  • Your request may not be processed until proof of purchase or rental is provided.
  • Please note that digital textbooks might not be accessible with text-to-speech software.
  • You must complete the Alternative Format Textbook form.

Click here to access the form as a PDF.

Click here to access the form as a .docx.

  • Return the Alternative Format Textbook form to the Assistive Technology Coordinator at along with your proof of purchase or rental.
  • Please provide your textbook information as early as possible in order to allow time for the materials to be requested and prepared.
  • Please note securing texts in alternative format may take several weeks, and that it is each student's responsibility to seek other resources in the interim.
  • You may not revise, convert, disassemble, modify, sell, license, rent, lend or otherwise share the electronic texts or other equipment to any other person. 
  • You are responsible for notifying the Assistive Technology Coordinator if you need other classroom materials, such as handouts or readings on Canvas, converted into an alternative format.

Please contact the Assistive Technology Coordinator at 314-246-4245 or with questions.

Back to top.  

Kurzweil 3000

Kurzweil is a powerful PC-based program that converts textbooks, articles, and other documents into files that can be displayed on a screen and read to the user. Users can also compose documents in the program as well as highlight and annotate documents. A built-in dictionary, thesaurus, spell-checker, and pronunciation feature are also included. Kurzweil recognizes several major languages.

  • Who Might Benefit: Students with certain visual impairments, reading challenges, learning differences, ESL concerns, or text anxiety
  • Location: The Academic Resource Center, the Emerson Library, and the Sverdrup Computer Lab 206
  • Training: About 30-45 minutes 

Back to top.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a Windows-based, voice-recognition software program that allows user to speak their content and commands. Dragon “learns” the user’s voice, accent, vocabulary, and other speech patterns. The more a student uses the software, the more Dragon correctly identifies that user’s words. Users can compose and format papers, search the Internet, and control many Windows-based applications all through Dragon. 

In addition, users may download the free Dragon Recorder application for use on mobile devices. The app allows the user to dictate content into a file that can be uploaded to Dragon Naturally Speaking.

  • Who Might Benefit: Students with limited use of hands or those with language-based learning challenges
  • Location: The Academic Resource Center and the Emerson Library
  • Training: It takes about an hour to learn to use the program. Because the program learns a user’s voice over time, however, it may take between 10-12 hours of use to train the software to accurately recognize the speaker’s words. 

Back to top.


JAWS (Job Access with Success) is a screen reader designed for. JAWS is compatible with PC-based applications including the Microsoft Office Suite, Corel Word Perfect, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

  • Who Might Benefit: Students with visual impairments or certain learning differences
  • Location: The Academic Resource Center and the Emerson Library
  • Training: 15-30 minutes 

Back to top.


OpenBook is a program that allows the user to scan printed pages into the software to be read aloud. The software can recognize both straight text and graphics-based text. The text can be customized by font, size, color, and contrast. Users can also highlight text.

  • Who Might Benefit: Students with certain visual impairments or learning differences
  • Location: The Emerson Library
  • Training: About 30 minutes 

Back to top.

Closed Captioned Television (CCTV)

Closed Captioned Television (CCTV) allows students to enlarge and project printed materials onto a television screen.

  • Who Might Benefit: Students with certain visual impairments.
  • Location: The Emerson Library
  • Training: About 30 minutes 

Back to top.


ZoomText is a software program that enlarges text on the screen by up to 16 times. It is useful for students writing papers or reading online articles. It also has limited text-to-speech capabilities.

  • Who Might Benefit: Students with certain visual impairments
  • Location: The Academic Resource Center and the Emerson Library
  • Training: About 30 minutes

Back to top.

Apps and Other Resources

The technology available for download on personal devises continues to evolve. Below is a list of apps and other resources that might be useful to some students. These resources are not supported by the ARC.

Back to top.













All training is performed by appointment. Please contact the Assitive Technology Coordinator at 314-246-4245 or to schedule training or an assistive technology consultation.  

Academic Resource Center

40 Loretto Hall
470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119