Main Content Region

Information and Resources

Why Create an Alternate Media Resource Page?

The alternate media production team has designed this page as an additional resource to keep our students abreast of new and innovative ways technology can be utilized to provide equal access to their course materials. While we may not be able to discuss your specific needs until you have successfully completed the intake process, we are happy to answer any general questions regarding alternate media you may have. We invite students to contact the Services to Students with Disabilities office should they have any questions or concerns regarding how the production process works, including the technology being used to provide accessible course materials to students receiving this accommodation.

Current Software Used to Provide Accessible Materials to Students

In Fall 2018, the alternate media process was streamlined, making materials accessible via Kurzweil 3000 Firefly software.  Students receiving the accommodation have an account created by the Alternate Media Production Team in which they can access their materials. Students can request their login information should it become misplaced or forgotten.

For students who are blind or low vision, training and accessibility of Kurzweil 1000 will be available should they choose to use the program. It is important to note that Kurzweil 1000 does not provide a MAC version for blind/low vision users, only HP or Windows based computers. If students opt to remain using their current method of accessibility (screen readers, Braille readers, etc.), they will be provided with an accessible format conducive to their needs.

Kurzweil Accessibility for Blind and/or Low Vision Students

For students who are blind or have low vision, training and accessibility of Kurzweil 1000 will be available to you should you choose to use the program.   For those students who prefer using their current method of accessibility (screen readers, braille readers, etc.) we will continue to provide you with accessible formats conducive to your needs.  It is important to note that Kurzweil 1000 does not provide a MAC version for blind/low vision users, thus you will need to use an HP or windows-based computer to access this version of the software. Again you will have the option to use Kurzweil 1000 (HP/Windows version only) or continue receiving your materials in your current preferred format.  

Kurzweil for Higher Education

Kurzweil Education® offers award-winning assistive technology solutions that enable English language learners, those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning disabilities to succeed. With Kurzweil solutions, students pursuing higher education can learn alongside their peers, achieve success independently, and learn at their own pace.

Kurzweil 3000 supports college students with these critical academic tasks:

  • Reading large volumes of text
  • Working independently
  • Using their study time effectively
  • Assisting with test taking for those with reading disabilities

Kurzweil 3000 Firefly for Web Browser

All students approved for Alternate Media Accommodations will access the Kurzweil 3000 web-based (cloud) version of the program. Students will not be required to download any software but will instead access their course materials via their web browsers. Kurzweil 3000 will support any device or computer with internet access!

System Requirements

  • Subscription (Student subscription Username and Password will be assigned by the SSD office Alternate Media staff)
  • Internet connection
  • Internet browser (latest version recommended):
    • For Windows: Internet Explorer (minimum version 11), Firefox (minimum version 52.0), Chrome recommended (minimum version 49)
    • For Macintosh: Firefox (minimum version 52.0), Safari (minimum version 9.1.0),Chrome (Minimum Version 49)
  • Cookies must be enabled
  • Minimum bandwidth of 512kbps for each active Kurzweil 3000 session
  • Network connectivity firewalls, proxy servers, and content filters must permit access
  • Additional Software suggested: Adobe Reader (CSUSB provides Adobe DC Pro free to all students)
  • Hardware speakers or earphones for audible instruction

Kurzweil 3000 (Firefly) READ Features:

  • Click to open files from Google Docs/Google Drive
  • Bookshare, Reading A-Z
  • Read text in Word, PDF, RTF, EPUB
  • Read the Web Chrome extension with customizable options
  • Customize reading options: speed, mode, and units
  • Zoom in for low vision
  • 31 natural text-to-speech voices in 18 languages and dialects

Kurzweil 3000 (Firefly) Study Features:

  • Highlight in six color options and marks in a red or blue circle
  • Extract notes and highlighters into a study guide
  • Access definitions instantly with American Heritage fifth edition, Children’s, College Writers, and picture dictionaries
  • Translate full sentences and passages (18 languages and dialects)
  • Read embedded bubble notes, text notes, and sticky notes (or hide them)

Kurzweil 3000 (Firefly) Writing Features:

  • Write or edit documents online with the Web Editor
  • Customize text-to-speech reading options (i.e., speak as you type)
  • Correct misspellings with spell-checker
  • Word prediction recommends words based on frequency
  • Cross-out text in assignments and tests online
  • Speech-to-text function allows for dictation 


  • Access content saved in your online library
  • Change reading speed, mode, units
  • 31 Natural Text-to-Speech voices
  • Text-to-Speech in 18 languages and dialects
  • Translate full sentences and passages
  • Access to Definitions instantly
  • Highlight in yellow, blue, green and pink
  • Cross-out text for assignments and tests given with the iPad
  • Read (or hide) Text and Sticky notes
  • Magnify text with the swipe of your fingers
  • Resume reading the last page you were onThe IPAD APP

Android Users will simply access the Kurzweil Firefly system using their Web browsers!  Please note that the iPad App will be discontinued on July 1, 2021. You will still be able to access your Kurzweil account through the web browser.

Kurzweil 1000 for Windows

Kurzweil 1000 is an assistive technology for students who are blind or low vision who need support in accessing print or digital materials. Some of the Kurzweil 1000 features are as follows:

New Features Added to Award-Winning Scan & Read Software with One-The-Go Access

Kurzweil 1000 makes printed or electronic text accessible to people with blindness and visual impairments — speaking text aloud in a variety of natural-sounding voices that can be modified to individual preferences.

Provides Enhancement and Ease in Users' Reading, Writing, and Learning Experiences

Kurzweil 1000 combines traditional reading machine technologies such as scanning, image processing, and text-to-speech with communication and productivity tools. 

Users can Pursue Any Reading Interests

It delivers quick access to a wealth of information including online books, magazines, and encyclopedias. 

Gives the Ability to Write and Edit Documents

Features for note taking, summarizing content, and outlining text are also included. 

Scanner Capability

Select your device, capture the image quickly and start reading! In addition to traditional scanners, Kurzweil 1000 now supports the following cameras for content acquisition:

  • HoverCam® (Version 5)
  • Sceye®

Recommended Apps

The Alternate Media Production Team has comprised a list of apps that we believe will assist students with converting text images into accessible text, converting PDF files into accessible text files, and scanning files across various devices.  Please note that we are in no way affiliated with the companies that created these apps; thus, any problems with downloads or troubleshooting should be addressed with said company.  If you have general questions on how to operate the apps listed below, please feel free to contact the SSD Alternate Media Production Team and we will do our best to assist you.

CamScanner - Our Top choice

For IOS & Android Devices

  • PDF scanner scan, text, OCR (optical character recognition) document scanner
  • Mobile scanner, easy scan and share
  • Send scanned docs anywhere
  • Auto-enhance image quality
  • Auto enhancing makes the PDF look clear and sharp.  You can easily export the files in multiple ways and sync to the cloud with high speed
  • OCR feature extracts texts from images for further editing or sharing

Download Links

Android Devices (Google Play Store) - 

IOS Devices (Available in the Apple App Store) -


Apple IOS  ONLY Devices 


The Prizmo application is a photo-based scanner app that lets you scan and recognize text documents, business cards, and images, and then export them as PDF/Text, vCard, or JPEG/PNG. Prizmo relies on state-of-the-art technologies, like a highly accurate OCR, real-time page detection, and beautiful image cleanup.  Using the iCloud, you can even shoot the picture on your iPhone, and finish editing on your iPad or Mac.  All of this in an elegant and intuitive user experience.

Prizmo is made for everyone and is fully compatible with VoiceOver.  It provides voice guidance to help position your iPhone when taking document pictures and will find the text orientation automatically if it's turned left, right, or upside down. Prizmo's quick capture mode provides a fast path from picture to speech synthesis for an improved workflow, and it provides a high-quality voice reader (individual voices available as in-app purchases).

There are 10 built-in languages in Prizmo (English, German, French, Italian...) and you can perform OCR in these languages as soon as Prizmo is installed. There are also 30 additional languages that can be used but must be downloaded first.

Prizmo App

Android ONLY Devices

Text Fairy

Text Fairy is an OCR app that is extremely easy to use! The highly accurate app allows you to scan text from images you take with your device making them accessible.

What the Text Fairy can do:

  • Converts an image to text.
  • Correct the viewpoint of an image.
  • Edit extracted text. 
  • Copy extracted text into the clipboard for use in other apps.
  • Convert the scanned page into PDF.
  • Recognizes printed text from more than 50 languages.
  • Have Android speak the text.

Please bear in mind that:

  • Images must be sharp with good lighting.
  • The app cannot read handwriting.
  • Text must be black on a white background.

Text Fairy

Universal Apps

Genius Scan

The Genius Scan app is basically a scanner in your pocket. This app allows you to quickly scan your documents on the go and export them as JPEG or multi-page PDF files. The Genius Scan technology includes smart page detection, perspective correction, and image enhancement.

Please click on the following links to download Genius Scan:

Key features

  • Detects page frame and corrects perspective 
  • Enhances the scan with color or black-and-white post-processing 
  • Emails the scans as JPG or PDF
  • Creates PDF documents with multiple scans 
  • Export documents to any app supporting JPG or PDF files
  • Documents are processed on the phone, not sent to a third-party server

Wondering how our users use Genius Scan? 

  • To quickly scan a form you just printed when you don’t have a scanner 
  • At the university to take a picture of a whiteboard 
  • On the road, to archive receipts
  • To make a copy when you have no copier available 
  • To archive handwritten notes or share them with colleagues 
  • Save the perfect recipe after cooking 
  • Save handwritten memos, or book pages for future reference 
  • Share a good restaurant menu on Twitter

What's New

Many new features in this update:

  • A magnifying glass to adjust precisely the document border
  • PDF files that you export can now be protected with a password
  • Smart Document Names allow automatic document naming with flexibility
  • Tags help you organize and find documents efficiently
  • A passcode lock to keep your scans safe
  • A document merge feature

Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally is an accessibility awareness tool that is integrated into the school-approved Blackboard system. It is activated in all courses and checks all uploaded course content against accessibility standards. 


  • Raises awareness of document accessibility among faculty and provides the tools and resources to improve accessibility of course content.
  • Automatically provides alternate accessible formats for students. An “A” with an arrow appears next to the document. Students select this and can download instructional materials in a format they prefer.