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Read&Write and OrbitNote


What is Read& Write?: Read&Write is a customizable toolbar that integrates reading, writing, studying, and research support tools with common applications. The Google Chrome extension-based web version* works in online environments, including Canvas and Google Docs.

Why it's useful:  Read&Write has myriad tools to support students in building independent learning skills to enhance overall success in college: text-to-speech, highlighting, dictionary, vocabulary tool, and study skills tools to capture highlight.

Who it's for: Everyone. While students benefit from the tool, so can faculty and staff. 

How do I Install it? Follow instructions on this ITS page to access the web tool and install the browser extension. It should only take a few minutes.

How do I use it? See our Read&Write guide for detailed instructions, videos, and links to Read&Write support.

 *There is a desktop version for Macs and PCs with more advanced features, including more language translation tools. In most cases, the Chrome version will be sufficient for students.


What is OrbitNote? OrbitNote is an online tool combining accessibility, text-to-speech, and annotating options for PDFs.

Why it's useful: both students and faculty are often confronted by old PDFs that are image-based and not machine readable, which means people can't search (ctrl-f), copy, annotate, or take advantage of text-to-speech tools. OrbitNote uses advanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tools to convert images to machine-readable text, opening up all of those options.

Who it's for: Everyone. Faculty can use it to convert old image-based PDFs to share more functional documents with their students, and students can use it whenever machine-readable PDFs aren't available. Teachers can also use the annotation tools as pedagogical aids, assigning students to comment on articles.

How do I install it? There's nothing to install. It's a web-based app to which BC ITS has purchased access. Just go to this ITS page for access instructions.

How do I use it? See our Guide to Making Accessible Documents to convert an image PDF to machine readable format.