Week 3: Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader is a fantastic reading tool that Microsoft has implemented into many of its products. Check out this link to see the updated list of which Microsoft products have Immersive Reader. 

Immersive Reader allows you to modify the way text appears as well as provides tools to help increase understanding. You can choose the font, size, and spacing of text, as well as what background color you would like the text to be on. You can also change the text so that you can see the words broken up by syllables or labeled by parts of speech. Additionally, Immersive Reader has a feature that allows you to only see one or three lines of text at a time to help you focus. 

If you are having trouble comprehending the text, Immersive Reader has some tools to help. Using the picture dictionary feature you can click on a word and an image of what the word means will appear. You can also use the translation feature to translate words one by one or to translate the entire text into a different language.  All of the grammar features of Immersive Reader are still available when you translate text to a different language. 

Lastly, Immersive Reader will read text aloud to you in a natural sounding voice. Depending on what language your text is in, you will have an option of either or both a male and female voice. You can adjust the speed of the voice as necessary.  

Use this Ask Athena article to learn more about using Immersive Reader. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Office 365: Clutter will be Disabled 10/27/22

On October 27, 2022 LITS will disable a deprecated Office 365 feature called Clutter.

Microsoft no longer supports or encourages the use of Clutter and has replaced it with Focused Inbox. Clutter does not behave consistently and may cause problems for the small number of accounts that still have it.

LITS has been able to do a limited amount of testing, and in our experience, community members that previously had the Clutter feature noticed that more messages appeared in their primary inbox once it was turned off. If this poses problems for you, there are a few ways you can manage the flow of messages to your inbox:

For more information on cleaning up your inbox, check out Microsoft Support’s Manage and Organize advice and our article on Data Clean-Up for your Email Inbox.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 2: Natural Reader

Natural Reader is a tool you can use to have content on your computer read aloud to you.  As the name implies, Natural Reader provides natural sounding voices, compared to the robotic sounding voices which are sometimes found in text-to-speech programs. You can select a voice from a variety of free and paid options, as well as voices that can read in different accents and languages. Additionally, you can choose how fast or slow the voice reads aloud. 

Natural Reader Google Chrome extension: This extension allows you to listen to web pages and emails aloud. Simply open the extension and click the play button to begin listening. If you would like to start at a particular place in the text, highlight that sentence and then click play so it will read from that point forward. 

Natural Reader Online Reader: This tool allows you to upload files, including .doc, .pdf, and .ppt, and have the content of those files read aloud. You can also increase the font size and convert the text into Dyslexie font so that it is easier to read.  

Lastly, both the extension and online reader allow you to download an MP3 recording of the text being read aloud in the voice of your choice so that you can listen to your reading on the go. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Week 1: Welcome to Keep Calm and Use Assistive Technology!

What is assistive technology? Assistive technology is any tool that helps you do what you want to do. There are many different categories of assistive technology, but for this semester we will focus on tools that help in educational and professional settings. 

This November we will host a digital escape room where participants will use assistive technology to solve clues. To get ready for this challenge (and shave some minutes off your escape room time), follow these blog posts each week to learn about the assistive technology tools you will have to use in the escape room. 

For this first week we will focus on Helperbird, which is an academic support tool available for free to all Bryn Mawr College community members.  

Helperbird is a Google Chrome extension that offers support for reading, comprehension, researching, and writing. In particular, Helperbird can help you as you read PDFs and websites for school and work.   

To get access to Helperbird and to learn all about the features available, read this Ask Athena article about getting started with Helperbird. 

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

Update: Widespread Zoom Outage

Updated 9/15 at 11:30 AM:

Zoom appears to be working again, at least locally. Users across the country are still reporting errors, so you may find that you still have trouble connecting with folks who are not at Bryn Mawr.

Zoom is currently unavailable for many community members at Bryn Mawr, and across the country.

Teams may be a good alternative in the meantime. We will post updates here when we know more.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.

New Accessibility Resources and Learning Opportunities

Check out the new Accessibility Best Practices guide. This step-by-step guide helps you vet the materials and practices you use for accessibility.

Have questions about accessibility or assistive technology?

      • Stop by during Accessibility Office Hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12-1 pm to have your questions answered.
      • Check out Assistive Technology Talk on Fridays at 2pm for workshops all about tools and tips to reach your goals this year!
      • Faculty and staff are invited to our Lunch and Learn program for bite-size tips on how to make your class more accessible: every other Monday from 12-12:30.
      • Watch the Daily Digest for details and zoom links!

Last but not least, the escape room is back! This semester’s game is called Keep Calm and Use Assistive Technology. Keep an on the LITS blog posts starting next week to learn ways to shave minutes off your team’s time this November.  Are you up for the challenge?

Fax Service: Potential for intermittent issues

Beginning September 1, the College’s telephone service carrier will change. While this will not disrupt phone service, fax service may have intermittent issues going forward.

If you experience problems sending or receiving faxes, please report them to the Help Desk. A little later this fall, staff and faculty will have the opportunity to provide LITS with input about their current faxing needs. Please stay tuned for additional communications and a questionnaire.

Contact the Help Desk with questions: help@brynmawr.edu or 610-526-7440.


Fall 2022 Course Reserves

emailed to academiccommunity listserv 8/31/22:

To place a book or video on reserve, please fill out the book reserve and/or video reserve form for the library you wish your reserves to be in, located in the LITS service catalog: https://td.brynmawr.edu/TDClient/Requests/ServiceDet?ID=279 Please note that you must submit a request in order for an item to go on reserve for your course.

The library will accept requests for required course texts and videos from faculty, and you will have the option to indicate a preference for either digital or physical formats. For physical books, we will obtain one copy per 20 students enrolled in the course. Please note that while we will make every effort to acquire items in the requested format, not all titles are available as e-books and not all e-books are available for library use. If you request an e-book and we cannot acquire it, we will acquire a print copy of the book.

Please include all e-books in your request even if you already see them in Tripod. We “rent” and do not “own” many of the e-book titles in Tripod, and books we don’t own sometimes disappear without warning. Unless we purchase the book (as an e-book or in print), we can’t guarantee it will be available for the entire semester. Your subject librarian would be happy to advise on resources for your courses (https://www.brynmawr.edu/inside/offices-services/library-information-technology-services/lits-staff/subject-librarians)

All reserve requests are processed in the order in which they are received. All items will be kept on reserve until the end of the semester, unless otherwise requested. Please note that if the Library needs to purchase or recall an item, it may take time to arrive.

Contact circulation@brynmawr.edu with questions.

Telephone Services Provider Change: No service disruptions expected

On September 1st, Bryn Mawr College will be switching to a new telephone services provider.


Our new service provider, Telesystems, will begin their work at 8:00am Thursday, September 1st. Telesystems has indicated telephone service to the College will continue uninterrupted as they complete this transition.


This change is required as Verizon notified our current telephone services provider, Windstream, that Verizon will be physically disconnecting our current telephone network on this date. This change only affects calls made to and from phone numbers that are off-campus. It does not affect phone calls that are made to and from on-campus phone numbers.


If anyone does experience anything unusual, please contact the Help Desk (help@brynmawr.edu or x7440).

Warning: Recent Phishing Attempts

Please be aware of a recent attempt to gather login, password, and other secure personal or College data from Bryn Mawr College community members.

Be on the lookout for messages that advertise job opportunities and include attached files. This is a scam.

screen shot of phishing message

Do not open the attachment, click on links, or respond in any way. Delete the message or report it as Phishing in Outlook. If you believe you’ve given your information to a phisher, immediately change your password and contact the Help Desk: help@brynmawr.edu, 610-526-7440.

Email scams come in many forms. While we work to keep you informed, attacks are increasingly diverse and sophisticated. It’s not possible for us to warn you of every message before you see it. Be cautious and suspicious. If you ever have a question or suspicion, don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk.