“The PAL program at Curry College has helped me to become a strong writer and has given me the confidence to ask for help when I need it. ”
Katie Russell '11
Major: Criminal Justice , Psychology
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Technology and Accommodations
The PAL Assistive Technology (AT) Center hosts technologies that have been shown to benefit students with learning differences. The collection was upgraded thanks to the awarding of Federal funds to support the excellent work PAL has done in providing model assistance to our students in the area of technology. Through our Assistive Technology and Accommodations Center, students can schedule training sessions in the use of a wide range of technologies and services including dictation and reading software; smartpens; audiobook readers; and others.
- Extended time on exams
- Ability to take exam in a reduced distraction environment
- Ability to use word processing software for tests for students whose essay writing is improved with the use of spell check and grammar check
- Kurzweil 3000 for tests for students who need to listen to exams read aloud
- Students may be approved for additional exam accommodations, e.g., use of Dragon Naturally Speaking software for tests
All current and former PAL students are able to take advantage of exam accommodations throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. Students are encouraged to discuss with their professors what tests they may need to take with accommodations in the PAL AT Center. A test session at the AT Center is easily requested by students using a simple sign-up in advance. In the AT Center, students are able to take their exams in a reduced distraction environment where Kurzweil readers and use word processing programs are available. Normally, students are allowed to sit for tests and exams for a period not to exceed twice the length of the test. For example: if a student has a test in a class that meets for 75 minutes, then the extended time for the test would normally be 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.
PAL students are able to request recorded textbooks via download through Learning Ally (formerly, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic). PAL provides certification of disability and some training in downloading and playing audiobooks from Learning Ally. New students receive an email message to their Curry College email account during the summer with information on how to obtain accessible textbooks, including details for how to register for a Learning Ally membership and how to request certification from PAL. We recommend registering with Learning Ally as soon as possible to obtain materials in time for the start of the semester and to get comfortable with features like downloading and listening to audiobook files.
PAL students may also receive assistance in registering for individual memberships in Bookshare. Bookshare is a free program for students with a qualifying disability. PAL instructors will assist in certification of disability status.
PLEASE NOTE: Since operating systems and personal configurations vary, it is not possible to provide extensive individualized support to each student. For books not available in Learning Ally or Bookshare, PAL can direct students to sources of materials but we can provide only limited technical assistance due to the increasing variety of audiobook providers, player software, and devices. For students needing in depth technical assistance, we suggest contacting technical support for the computer or for the specific software.
PAL has Kurzweil 3000 Professional installed on six computers. Kurzweil 3000 is software that reads text out loud, providing audio support for college reading materials. Kurzweil 3000 Professional allows for text to be either scanned from hard copy or "virtually scanned" from PDF. The program will also read many web pages. Features include highlight text as the material is read, dictionary look up of unfamiliar words, ability to control the reader's voice type and speed, and saving text as an audio file (MP3 or WAV). Training is available by appointment. Many students find that a brief introductory session is all that is required before successfully using this important tool.
Dragon Naturally Speaking
Training is also available on use of Dragon Naturally Speaking, software that allows students to speak their essays to a computer. Once trained on the use of the software, students can sign up to use the program during exams or on papers. This program has been a very useful tool for students who have difficulty expressing themselves in writing, but are able to speak their responses very easily. Students should plan several training sessions to optimize the program's response to individual speaking style.
General Information (FOR REGULAR SEMESTERS - SUMMER HOURS VARY)
PAL Assistive Technology Center
Open Mon. - Fri. 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Proctoring hours for students with approved exam accommodations
All exam requests must be submitted in advance using our online system.
Regular hours are Mon. - Thurs. 8:30 am to 5:30 pm; Fri. 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
By appointment Mon. - Thurs. until 7:00 pm
PAL Computer Lab
Open Mon. - Thurs. 8:30 am - 7:00 pm; Fri. 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Student AT Training Times
For more information, contact:
AsstTech@curry.edu - 617-333-2262
Criminal Justice major Brandon Traina one day hopes to become a part of one of the most prestigious law enforcement organizations in the world, the NYPD.
A Psychology and Criminal Justice double-major, Katie Russell decided in her junior year to take a semester at sea, a whirlwind academic boat trip which took her to 14 different countries.
"The PAL program has allowed me to be much more involved in school. The faculty and staff point out my strengths so now I know where I'm able to channel what I'm good at. I honestly had no idea of my potential before PAL."