Alternative Text Format

Alternate Text Format (Electronic Text or E-text or Audio Format)

Students with print disabilities, such as visual impairments and learning disabilities, may require textbooks and material in audio format. Determination of need is made by Disability Services based on the appropriate documentation the student provides.

Student Responsibilities:

  • Make a request for alternate print format: Students must provide a list of alternate text format requests in writing (e.g. email) at the beginning of each semester that alternate text format is required. This information provides Disability Services with the information needed to respond to the student’s needs in a timely manner.
  • Getting information quickly: Contact the academic department or the campus store for the title, author, publisher and edition of the textbooks for the courses in which you plan to enroll. This must be done as far in advance as possible. The student is required to purchase the textbook(s). If the student has trouble obtaining this information from the course instructor, the student can contact Disability Services as soon as the delay is known and Disability Services will assist the student in getting this information as quickly as possible.

Electronic Text or “E-text” or Audio Format:

  • If students prefer audio format, they should contact agencies as suggested by Disability Services to determine if required textbooks are available.
  • If students prefer electronic text or “e-text,” they should give the bibliographic information to Disability Services. Disability Services will obtain the required copies of the textbooks either directly from the publisher or request permission from the publisher to convert the print into electronic text and then save the text to Blackboard for the student to download. The student will then chose from the following options for accessing audio format: 1) Computer-generated voice read-back of text using a screen reader on his/her own computer. This option also provides visual cuing of text on a computer screen, 2) Computer-generated MP3’s saved to Blackboard. This option will allow the student to download the file and hear the speech using a MP3 player, iPod, etc.

The final decision as to which accommodation to use is the university’s; student preference will be taken under consideration, but not necessarily determine the final decision.

Conversion Deadline

The deadline for converting textbooks into electronic text is at least two weeks before the student needs the first reading assignment. When course materials are delivered to Disability Services with less than two week’s notice, Disability Services will inform the student how much of the material can be converted in the time available. Although every effort will be made to accommodate student needs, Disability Services cannot guarantee conversion of materials without two week’s notice.

Defective Materials

If for any reason any files or assistive technology are defective, the student should contact the coordinator immediately. The coordinator will investigate the problems and suggest solutions as soon as possible.

Copyright Issues

Because Disability Services does not have copyright clearance for books, they cannot distribute book files to students unless they own a print copy of the material. Students who use electronic materials MUST sign a contract indicating that they own a print copy of the textbook, are using the materials in order to access their textbooks, and will NOT duplicate the materials in any way. Students also must sign the Alternate Format Agreement form before receiving materials.