Alternative Media is provided for students who have a print disability. This can be for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to: blindness or low vision, difficulty reading, difficulty processing, or other physical disability.

Students who receive alternative media as an accommodation will have the accommodation listed in the letter that is given to their professors. If students require a particularly large amount of materials, a separate letter directly from the alternative media specialist may be given, or the alternative media specialist will contact the professor directly.

Although many students choose to only use their textbooks in alternate format, students have the right to request any and all materials made available to them by the campus and its personnel in accordance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12101)  and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974.

Alternative media requires requesting some, if not all, materials from the publisher or original source. This can take several weeks, depending on the publishing organization and its resources. In a lot of cases, the electronic files received require additional remediation in order to make them accessible for the student. Sometimes, materials must be scanned so that a digital version can be made in-house. For this reason, we endeavor to obtain course materials as early as possible to provide students their materials in a timely manner. As a professor or staff member, you are instrumental in this process. 

If you have a student who requires alternative media:

Please be aware that the coordination of alternative media requires advance notice. It can take 4-6 weeks to process an order for conversion to alternative format. You can help us by:

  • Creating or ordering your course materials in advance. Ideally, your required and/or recommended course materials should be posted ninety (90) days prior to the start of term, either in your syllabus or via the university bookstore.
  • Your course materials must be available for Disability Resource Services seventy (70) days prior to the start of term regardless of whether a student with a disability approaches you. This is in accordance with the faculty handbook, 11/AS/08UEPC –Instructional Materials Accessibility Policy.
  • Providing materials to Disability Resource Services upon request.
  • Announcing all reading and course assignments well in advance of the due date. Be sure to do so both verbally and in writing.
  • Being understanding when a student with a disability asks for course materials in advance. Understand that it may take a couple weeks to convert the material. Once it is converted, the student then needs time to be able to review it.

In the event that your course materials are requested: 

  • We ask that you provide the requested course materials as soon as possible.
  • The Alternative Media Specialist may contact you with questions about your materials when converting them, especially if the subject matter requires special expertise (i.e. most Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics materials).
  • Your course materials will only be shared with the student making the request. If an additional student requires the same materials you will be contacted for permission to release these materials.
  • Disability Resource Services may inquire whether the course materials are used often in the course. If so, we may ask to retain a copy of the accessible format for speedy delivery to other students should another request occur in the future.

Disability Resource Services will provide, upon request, a copy of the accessible format to the professor who originally created the course materials.

Please do not take it upon yourself to provide an individual student your own, course-altering accommodations due to their need for alternate format. All course-altering accommodations should be made in cooperation with Disability Resource Services.


Choosing Your Materials

When choosing materials and textbooks for your classroom, keep the following in mind:

  • Is there a version of this text in print and in electronic format?
  • Does the electronic version offer text-to-speech, or is it compatible with a screen reader? Ask the publisher.
  • If a scanned image is all you have, is it good quality? Avoid crooked scans, “washed out” scans, highlighting, and underlining, if possible.
  • If you have images that convey information, is there alternate text?
  • Is color the only way that information is being conveyed? If so, provide an alternative.
  • Are videos captioned?

Creating your own accessible course materials:

One of the greatest ways you can help is to educate yourself on accessible course materials, and learn the basics yourself.

If you prefer an in-person approach, then you can contact the alternative media specialist with questions, or ask to schedule an appointment to learn how to create digital, accessible instructional materials. Contact them at or call the office at (209) 667-3159.

Here are some great resources for getting started with accessibility:

Making Accessible PDFs

Making Accessible Word Documents

Making Accessible PowerPoints

Table Accessibility in Word and Excel for MAGic and JAWS

Color and Contrast for Accessibility

Updated: January 10, 2022