Enabling technologyvirtualisationproject

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Enabling technologyvirtualisationproject

  1. 1. Don't disable people with disabilities. How to make accessibility software available everywhere. Nick Brown (nick.brown@rnc.ac.uk) 12th March 2014. JISC Digital Festival. 15:00 http://www.rnc.ac.uk
  2. 2. • UK’s largest specialist residential college for people with a visual impairment • 100’s of students on campus • Specialist facilities, equipment and expertise • Advice, guidance, training and support for mainstream universities and colleges
  3. 3. Cloud Computing Project http://www.aoc.co.uk/en/policy-and- advice/cloud-computing-in-fe- colleges/cloud-computing-projects.cfm • “Moodle” cloud project in association with Herefordshire College of Technology (HCT) • HCT built a new Moodle system, hosted in the cloud • RNC built an accessibility layer, giving access to Moodle to anyone with a PC, even if they didn’t have a copy of JAWS
  4. 4. Examples of Enabling Software Screen Readers and Magnifiers Tools for reading and learning disabilitiesSpecialist Hardware Drivers Keyboard Filters Speech Recognition On Screen Keyboards Visual Alerters
  5. 5. “Mary’s” Story • “Mary” was a student at RNC. When her course ended, she went to university to get a degree. • The university told her that she could only use a few machines because of the enabling software she needed. • As a result she wasn’t able to choose machines she wanted to use, couldn’t sit with her friends, was unable to switch machines if hers had technical issues and sometimes couldn’t access software that others had access to. • We think that everyone should be able to use every computer. In today’s world, surely we should make an effort to ensure that all of our equipment is accessible to everyone. Picture posed by actor
  6. 6. So Why Isn’t It (1)? • Try loading several pieces of enabling software onto the same machine and you’ll become quite familiar with the screen above (or the new Windows 8 equivalent). • Even when it seems to work, odd things can happen. Enabling software often clashes with each other
  7. 7. So Why Isn’t It (2)? Enabling Software can be hard to install and usually requires a technician to visit every machine. • How many PCs do you have in your institution? • Can you justify a technician visit to each one to install software that may never be used? • Some enabling software takes ages to install (sometimes half an hour or more)
  8. 8. So Why Isn’t It (3)? Enabling Software can be VERY expensive. Educational pricing for a single JAWS Pro licence with 2 years support is £985 • If you were to install JAWS on 1000 PC’s using “per seat” licences – well, do the maths!
  9. 9. OK, What’s the Solution? Portable Mode? • Some software has a “portable mode” where it will run straight from a USB stick • Not all software offers this • You often need admin rights at some point • Have you disabled your USB ports for security reasons? Run from Network? • Other software may have a “network mode”, running directly from the server • Again, not all software offers this • You often still need admin rights at some point • A “stub” program may still need to be installed
  10. 10. OK, What’s OUR Solution? Software Virtualisation • Tools exist that allow users to run software on machines that it has never been installed on • Called “Software Virtualisation”, it allows the IT team to install the software on one machine. Clever software looks at how the install was done and then makes a copy of this which can be used on other computers • The software is never installed on the other machines, it’s loaded from the virtualisation server only when and if it’s needed
  11. 11. So, How Does that Fix the Problem? 1. The software isn’t installed, so it can’t clash with other software that’s installed 2. You only need to install each product once – no need to visit each computer 3. Although you will need to negotiate with each supplier, you will generally only need a licence for each user (either concurrent or named)
  12. 12. Software Virtualisation Vendors
  13. 13. Our Chosen Technology • Enabling software tends to be quite complex, needing multiple drivers that often integrate deeply with the operating system • Many of the virtualisation products are incapable of doing this, so care must be taken when evaluating • As we are providing enabling technology, the portal for users to access this technology must be accessible • It will save you time later if you choose a vendor that supports and encourages sharing of the virtualisation “recipe” for an app, or will provide ready-made apps for you to download application jukebox
  14. 14. Problems Encountered Enabling software is complicated! JAWS (and other screen reading software) does things at a deep level within the operating system. • Getting JAWS to work took time (quite a lot of it, actually!) • We had to get help from the manufacturers in the USA • We cannot get around the need for a reboot before the first run of JAWS (and some other enabling software) • This work is now done and we are happy to share the “recipe” with you. Armed with this, you will be able to virtualise JAWS in around an hour.
  15. 15. Future Enhancements • Integration with our own SharePoint site • Windows shortcuts • Automatic virtualisation on login • Non-Windows technologies
  16. 16. Q&A nick.brown@rnc.ac.uk http://www.rnc.ac.uk http://www.software2.co.uk

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