Learning and assistive technology support for staff and students
Updated on 23 April 2022
Learning technology is the broad range of communication, information, and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment as well as work-related activities.
All disabled students are advised to register with Disability Services as soon as possible to ensure individual support arrangements are made.
Disability Services offer support with accessing and using a wide range of assistive technology, including screen reading/magnification software, mind mapping software and ergonomic mice/keyboards.
We provide students who are registered with Disability Services access to loan assistive technology for a short trial period. If the technology proves to be beneficial, the loan period can be extended.
If you think you may benefit from loan equipment, please make an appointment with a Disability Adviser.
Sample loan 1
- Digital recorder to record lectures during term time
Sample loan 2
- Tablet device to use as an aid to magnify and read text
Sample loan 3
- Laptop with assistive software to support reading and writing
We have a range of networked assistive software that is available to all students and staff.
On campus software
The University of Dundee provides learning technology to help with your studies. All of the programs listed below can be found by accessing the Start Menu on the Student Desktop:
- Sonocent Audio Notetaker 4
- Cereproc Scottish Voices
These programs are available on the Disability Services’ loan laptops and in our IT Suite computers, as well as being available on most University computers across campus.
To access them click Start (or press the Windows Key) > All Programs > Learning Technology
University Staff can download a copy of the software to University-owned devices free of charge through the Software Centre (Windows 7) or Appstore (Windows 10) on the Staff Desktop.
Alternatively, for support with this, contact the UoD IT Service Desk
Assistive technology is a subgroup of learning technology that can help maintain or improve a person's ability to do things in everyday life. Such technology can assist with a range of difficulties, including problems with memory, reading, writing, language and mobility.
Anyone who is a member of the University community, including students, administrative, support and academic staff. The technology can be accessed or installed on University computers, with a selection available for use on home and personal computers.
Support with reading
Word Learning Tools and Immersive Reader
- Improve reading comprehension
- Increase fluency for English language learners or readers of other languages
- Help build confidence for emerging readers learning to read at higher levels
- Offer text decoding solutions for students with learning differences such as dyslexia
Colorveil software applies colour filters over your screen. This can reduce eye strain and help with Dyslexia and Visual Stress.
Cereproc Scottish Voices – Text to Speech (TTS) Voices
Scottish Voices allows you to have text read back to you in a natural sounding voice, with a Scottish accent. Far better than the default voices on most programs, it makes it easier to listen back to the content on your screen.
Read & Write Gold 11.5
Read&Write can be used for proof reading, and also provides advanced spelling and grammar checking, as well as being able to read aloud documents and webpages. You can also apply a coloured tint to your screen to reduce visual strain, as well as access a range of other features to support independent study and research.
The Read&Write training portal helps you make the most of the software.
Support proofing work
Using professional support, friends and/or family to proof read your work
The University has developed detailed guidance on what level of support a proofreader should provide to you. You and the proofreader must follow the guidance.
A proven technique to spot mistakes is to have the computer read your text aloud. Tip, look away from the screen whilst listening.
Read&Write for Chrome
Improve reading and writing confidence in Office365 (web). Read&Write supports everyone to read, write and express themselves more confidently and independently. The software can be a confidence booster for anyone who needs support with their reading and writing, at University or in the workplace. Its friendly literacy features help English Language Learners, as well as people with learning difficulties or those requiring dyslexia tools.
From listening to emails or documents read aloud by the computer, to text prediction, dictionaries, document tinting, summary highlighters and a grammar, spelling and confusable words checker, Read&Write makes lots of everyday literacy tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate.
Installing Chrome extension
- Recommend using the Chrome browser on your PC
- Use Chrome web browser
- Google “Read & Write chrome extension”
- Add the extension to your chrome browser
- The software is only usable Office365 online apps such as Word are open (equally Google docs if you prefer)
- Sign into myapps.microsoft.com
- When asked to sign in, use email@example.com and your usual UoD password
- Open Word and Create a new document
- Click on the 'rw' icon
- You will be prompted to login using your Google username and password
Advanced proofing of written work
Grammarly and Ginger offer a contextualised spell and grammar check with a plug-in to work with Microsoft Word. The software aims to reduce the number of errors in your written work. Premium versions are available but are not essential.
Support for note taking
Sonocent Audio Notetaker 4
Audio Notetaker allows you to record audio from lectures and combine those recordings with your presentation slides and notes, to create one easy-to-use file. You can record audio from a number of sources, such as an external microphone, Dictaphone, smartphone or even straight from a laptop.
- To start using the program, review the video content at the skills portal
- Visit AudioNotetaker website for a demonstration and 30 day trial for home
If you have purchased a copy, or have been loaned a licence from Disability Services, you can use the Sonocent Link smartphone App to manage your recordings on iPhone and Android.
Taking notes during classes or meetings can be challenging. LEARN:Smart, provides you with guidance on how to take notes, but explore tips and good practice strategies.
OneNote (Available Free)
11 ways to manage note taking with OneNote
Support to increase type and text input
Dictate your documents in Word
If you find typing a challenge you can ease the load with voice input from Microsoft Office. The accuracy has improved significantly in recent years. For the best results use a USB headset or phone headphones with a microphone.
Dictate your documents in Word
Google Docs and Mac OSX Dictate
Google Docs and Mac Dictate offer similar performance and features.
Researching, planning, and structuring essays and reports
EduApps consists of useful software collections that are free for you to download and use. The EduApps Family covers a range of user requirements to support teaching and learning, so just choose the App that's right for you.
There are lots of different features to help your work and studies, including customising fonts and backgrounds, text-to-speech, talking dictionaries, mindmaps and more.
MindView is a tool that allows you to easily and quickly create mind maps to help you plan essays, organise notes, plan projects and group work, schedule your revision and more. Once you’re done, you can even export your mindmap to Microsoft Office to finish writing your work and to keep all of your notes together.
MindView also has built in Gantt Chart and Timeline features which are handy for keeping group work and projects on track.
Planning and organising
Consider Microsoft Planner (Available Free) or Trello (Available Free/Premium Paid) service to organise your work.
Referencing – MyBIB (Available Free)
MyBIB is a free web tool to help with referencing. It helps ensure the correct format and style is used for the most popular referencing styles. The output can be downloaded into MS Word and the bibliography can automatically be put into alphabetical order if required.
Add new references by DOI, ISBN or search. Most, if not all information will be auto-filled to be checked by yourself before adding to your bibliography, saving time and reducing errors when copying reference information.
Before using MyBIB review the information on Cite Them Right to understand and ensure referencing produced by MyBib is correct.
Aberdeen University ToolKit
Toolkit is a multi-award-winning gateway to software, services, apps and digital skills at Aberdeen University. This is free for all students to use online learning material such as a Crash Course Study Skills
Procrastinating - Try Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is a method that boosts productivity by breaking down work or study periods into 25-minute slices, separated by short breaks.
There are six steps in the original technique:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
Clockwork Tomato/ Flat Tomato
Clockwork Tomato is our recommended Pomodoro app for Android, and Flat Tomato is our recommended app for iOS.
Disability Services offer 1 hour sessions for registered students on how the software can be used to help with your academic studies and work-related duties.
1 hour sessions include:
- note taking - combining notes, PowerPoints slides and audio into one synchronised file using Audio Notetaker
- reducing writing errors - proof reading and spelling support with Read & Write Gold
- revision strategies - testing your knowledge with MindView mind mapping software
- essay/project planning and research – using MindView to collect data, draft paragraphs and structure assignments
Contact Disability Services to book your training session.