Quick Links

Access Technology & Computing Resources

My Access.

A photo of Timothy Swiffen, the access technologist for our office

Technology Resources

Here are some quick technology resources you can access without making an appointment.

Apps and Software for Writing - These are the slides from our workshop on Apps and Software to aid in writing. It offers some alternatives to Microsoft word along with some applications that can help organize and simplify your notes.

Organizing Your Digital Clutter - Here are the slides from another one of our workshops devoted to organizing your notes in a digital environment. It focuses on note taking applications as well as other useful tools like reference library managers.

Self-Regulation through Assistive Technology - These slides are from our workshop about using Assistive technology to self regulate so you can stay organized and accomplish tasks.

Access Technology Technicians

The OSD maintains a network of up to date computers with the latest software applications. Our technical staff maintain both OSD computer labs, and adaptive computer stations in some libraries. They are available to answer questions, train you on the technology, and to offer technical help and support.

If you use adaptive computer technology or need help in learning how to use technology to access, or to work more effectively with oral or print information, you can discuss your individual learning needs with our Adaptive Technologist. He can help you select appropriate programs and hardware to optimize your learning.

You may make an appointment for a technical consultation or for an individual tutorial on how to use a specific program or application by calling (514-398-6009).

Jeff Grummett

Adaptive Technologist, Adapted Reading Service

Timothy Swiffen

Access Technologist, timothy [dot] swiffen [at] mcgill [dot] ca

OSD Computer Labs

Please note: all facilities depend on availability and are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Redpath Computer Lab

The OSD runs a computer lab in Room 5-B of the Redpath Library. The lab is located on the main floor, next door to the Access McGill Lounge (Room 5-A). The lab and lounge have 9 PCs. Printers and scanners are also available. In order to open the door of the OSD’s Redpath Computer Lab you must have your I.D. cards activated at the OSD office. This lab is open during all library hours and is staffed by the OSD technician during regular office hours. Assistance with learning computer skills is available by appointment. In order to have access to the lab you must need to use the computers for reasons related to your disability. We ask that you behave with consideration for others who may also be using the lab.

OSD Main Office Computer Lab

This lab is available to you during office hours, except when it is being used for mid term and final exams. Use of the lab is restricted to academic activities, and we ask that you behave in consideration of others who may also be using the lab.

In conformity with the McGill University Computer Users' Code of Conduct, we reserve the right to revoke access if you demonstrate an inability to use the facilities in an appropriate manner.

Adaptive Software

Both the Repath and OSD computer labs contain a widerange of adaptive software for students to use. Currently available in OSD labs:

  • Microsoft Office 2010 Professional
  • Zoomtext and MAGIC & Bigshot Screen magnifiers
  • JAWS Screen Reader
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition
  • Open Book Scanning & Reading
  • WYNN Scanning and Reading
  • Kurzweil Scanning and Reading
  • Inspiration
  • IBM Home Page Reader
  • Co:Writer
  • TextHelp Scanning and Reading
  • Duxbury Braille Translator
  • PDF Converter


Our computer labs also have printers available for student use, but, you must supply your own paper. The printers are for academic purposes only. If you abuse your printing privileges, the OSD reserves the right to discontinue your access to our labs.

***The OSD supports McGill’s environmental policy to reduce paper use on campus. Please photocopy and print on both sides whenever possible.

Adaptive equipment

  • CCTV- print enlargers
  • Scanners
  • 19 and 21 inch computer monitors
  • tactile image enhancer
  • adapted key boards
  • 4-track tape recorders
  • FM wireless voice amplification Systems
  • Alpha Smart© note taking screen word processors


The OSD Office and Redpath Lab are both equipped with TTY telephone equipment.

TTY in Redpath Computer Lab

The TTY in Redpath may be used with the phone in either of Rooms 5-A or 5-B. Make sure the TTY is plugged in and is turned on. It should be placed next to the telephone. To make a local outgoing call: Pick up the telephone receiver and dial the number (remember to dial 9 first, then the telephone number) on the telephone keypad. Place the receiver on the TTY in the rubber cups. Watch the red flashing light on the upper left front of the TTY (slow flashes indicate ringing; quick flashes indicate a busy signal).

When the other party picks up and begins typing, your words will appear on the screen. Type in what you want to say. When you are finished a sentence, type "GA" to tell the other party to "go ahead." To finish a conversation, type "GA SK," meaning go ahead or stop keying." The other party will either continue or type "SKSK" to conclude the conversation. When you have finished, turn the TTY off.

TTY in OSD Main Office

The TTY at the OSD office is connected directly to the phone line; you do not need to use it with a telephone set. This TTY is left on to monitor incoming calls at all times. When it is not in use, the display should read: AUTO ANSWER ON.

To make a local outgoing call: Press Shift-9 to turn the Auto Answer off and then Shift-0 to dial. Enter the number you wish to reach (remembering to add 9 before the telephone number for external calls). Watch the red flashing light on the upper left front of the TTY (slow flashes indicate ringing; quick flashes indicate a busy signal).

Alternate Textbook formats

The OSD offers services and a variety of adaptive technological solutions for those who have disability related difficulties accessing print materials.

Digital text
We help you obtain digital textbooks or course packs for reading with computer software. We can also assist you with creating digital texts using our scanners. Contact the Technologist Jeff Grummett to let him know what reading material you require in digital format.
We help you to locate Braille materials and we also have a braille embosser and tactile image enhancer on site.
Text enlargement
We help you to locate large print texts. You can use our CCTVs to read enlarged print or, when applicable, large print can be produced on our photocopier. All OSD computers are equipped with screen magnification software.
Text to speech computer software
All our computers are equipped with screen reading software that reads digital text.
Audio recording of lectures
We can help you locate on-line audio recordings of McGill lectures.
Recorded books
We help you access what you need from libraries of audio books.
Adapted exams
An exam can be read onto audiotape, scanned for use with adapted technology, brailled or enlarged.

Photocopying & Scanning services


A photocopier is available at OSD for you to use. Photocopying is available only if it is required for both academic and disability related needs. You would be eligible if you have permission to make copies of class notes or to enlarge text. Do not hesitate to ask our secretary for assistance using the machine.


Both OSD computer labs are equipped with scanners, available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. You can use these, with the help of our staff, for digitizing texts. You should plan ahead if you will require large volumes of material to be scanned. You can speak with the OSD Adaptive Technologist who may be able to help you with large scanning jobs.

Also, if you receive government funding for this service, you may be able to hire a support worker to help you with scanning.

Other resources on campus

Adapted workstations equipped with scanners, screen readers and large print software may be found at the following locations:

  • McLennan Library Reference
  • Howard Ross Management Library
  • Education Library
  • Music Library
  • Health Sciences Library
  • Schulich Library of Science and Engineering

There are also a variety of digital voice recorders, laptops and other devices available for loan to all McGill students from Instructional Multimedia Services (IMS) Audiovisual Services located in Room 22 of the Redpath Library.

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