The amount of computer time required for remote Instruction can exacerbate many disabilities and cause potential issues for individuals not accustomed to the environment. The information below, while collected initially to help support individuals with disabilities, may be supportive for many students, staff, or faculty actively engaged in remote learning or work.
Helpful programs and apps
- Glean online note-taking technology (Free due to COVID-19)
- JAWS, ZoomText and Fusion screen-reader, magnification (Free due to COVID-19)
- WordQ word prediction, literacy support, spelling/grammar, proofreading (Free due to COVID-19)
- Kurzweil 3000 Text to speech, OCR, literacy support (Free due to COVID-19)
- Grammarly Grammar and Spellchecker (Chrome extension, both free and paid versions available)
- Night Shift (Chrome extension) automatically shifts the colors of your browser content to warmer end of the spectrum after dark
- F.lux makes the color of your display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day (Windows only)
- Mercury Reader (Chrome extension) Clears the clutter, leaving only text an images on the screen
- NaturalReader Online (works on all browsers) free text-to-speech reader. Upload a document and have it read to you.
- Immersive Reader for Office 365 another text-to-speech option for all Office programs: Word, OneNote, Teams, etc.
- Text to Speech with Google Drive (Chrome extension)
- Other text to speech apps give your eyes a break and use your ears to take in information.
- BeeLine Reader (Chrome extension) Adds an eye-guiding color gradient to help keep your eyes on track. At this time, BeeLine Reader is not free.
Tips for reducing eye strain from the computer screen
- Try to set up a place in your living space that is conducive to studying. Work at a table or desk if possible. Pay attention to ergonomics and make the space as comfortable as possible as you will likely spend a good deal of time there.
- If possible, switch to a larger monitor or increase font size so there is no need to strain.
- Position your monitor about 20 to 26 inches away from your head. Place the monitor so the middle of the screen is at or slightly below eye level.
- Use a computer screen filter to dampen glare. Be sure to get a filter that is specifically sized for your monitor.
- Try using tinted or polarized glasses to reduce glare
- Eye drops (people tend to blink less when using a computer, which can cause dry eyes)
- Take periodic breaks from your computer to give your eyes something else to focus on.
- Change computer settings on a Windows 10 PC or a mac.
- Try using dark mode to reduce brightness (Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Dark mode on a mac)
- There are a number of apps that allow you to add a colored filter or change the contrast within a web browser (many are available by searching for Accessibility in the Chrome extension store). Try the apps out to see which one works for you (they are not all winners)