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Information for Faculty

Course Materials Accessibility

Electronic Text

Audio visual material 

Videos

Powerpoints with audio

Course Materials Accessibility

Why am I being asked to provide information on the course materials I will use?

What can I do to ensure that textbooks I use will be accessible?

What information does Disability Services need?

Why do I need to provide this information so early?

Why am I being asked to provide information on the course materials I will use?

Some students need to have their texts and other course materials in a different format in order to have access to them. The most common format is in an electronic text. This could be for students who use a screen reading software (Kurzweil 1000 or 3000, JAWS or ZoomText), need the text in Braille, cannot carry books or turn pages. Others might need videos closed captioned or described.

What can I do to ensure that textbooks I use will be accessible?

You can do three things:

1) Before deciding on a textbook for the course, you can go to the AccessText ISBN search tool to determine whether the publisher has the text in an electronic format already, then contact Disability Services as soon as possible with the information listed below. 

2) If the text is not in an electronic format and you need to use it, then contact Disability Services as soon as possible with the information listed below. 

3) If you are considering using a custom ordered book, work with Disability Services and the publisher to ensure an electronic student copy (not "exam" or "instructor" copy) is created, as well, and that access to that copy will not expire.

Additionally, publishers who are partnered with AccessText.org are committed to supporting students with disabilities, have most of their texts in accessible format and are easy to work with.  Please consider working with them. You can view them on this link that lists AccessText partners.

What information does Disability Services need?

Disability Services needs to know what books and other materials you will be using in class so that we can acquire the electronic version. We depend on you for this information! Please send a list of your course materials, including ISBNs to the access advisor. You may also confirm whether the only material you will be using is listed at the bookstore website. The access advisor must request copyright permission and then convert the text into an accessible format for the student.

Why do I need to provide this information so early?

We request your course lists and syllabi soon after course registration has been completed. For Fall 2015, we had over 400 texts or videos requested. The access advisor needs about three months to organize, request and convert the large amount of texts requested. Often there are challenges in obtaining course lists, syllabi, copyright permission, or with converting texts and finding or creating captioned versions of videos. We also need to have time to deal with urgent situations such as a change in professors for a course and the large number of late hires. We depend on your good faith to send the lists to us as soon after course registration as possible so that we can get the bulk of the work done. If you are in a bind, please contact the access advisor to see whether a workable plan can be reached.

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Electronic Text

Why do I need to make electronic text?

What is my role for providing electronic text?

What is the student’s role in electronic text?

What is Disability Services’ role in electronic text?

I use articles and handouts throughout the semester to supplement electronic text.

How do I know if it electronic text is accessible?

Why do I need to do this?

Ensuring that we have students’ readings available to them at the start of the semester can be a complex and time consuming process with multiple steps.

What is my role?

Faculty are responsible to provide detailed information regarding required readings.  For books be sure to provide: author, title, edition, publisher, ISBN.

What is the student’s role?

Students are responsible to submit an e-text request to the Banacos Academic Center detailing which texts and/or courses they need e-text for.

What is Disability Services’ role?

  • The access advisor is responsible to contact the publisher for copyright permission and, ideally, a pdf file.
    • Some publishers have a very quick turn-around time while some can take a several weeks to provide the necessary files.
    • If publisher file is not available, Banacos staff must obtain a hard copy of the text and scan the entire book.
  • Most of our students are using specific types of reading software programs.  For those requests, Banacos staff will also convert the files into that format and edit them for reading flow and accuracy.  Depending on the size and format of the text, this process can require a few more days or even weeks to complete.

I use articles and handouts throughout the semester to supplement.

Many faculty provide handouts of various types to supplement or in some cases replace textbook files.  If you are already providing these materials electronically (for example via PLATO), there are some simple steps you can follow to help ensure the accessibility of these files or determine which files need to be modified to address accessibility

How do I know if it is accessible?

If you are using materials that are in a Word document you can use the built in Microsoft Accessibility Checker to see if there is anything that needs to be tweaked. 

PDFs with selectable text are generally fine.  Image PDFs are not.  An easy way to check is to click somewhere on that page and try to highlight a line of text.  If it highlights the entire page and doesn’t allow you to select anything more specific, that is an image file.  If you can highlight individual lines or words, that is readable.

As you are scanning (or copying) materials for students, there are a few items to keep in mind in order to create the best scans possible:

  • Always try to start with clean materials that do not have writing, underlining, or highlighting.
  • Keep the pages as straight as possible.
  • Double check to make sure that words are not cut off.  If they are, you should rescan so that all of the information is there.
  • When scanning from a book, be sure to press down on the spine and make the pages as flat as possible.  This will help to minimize the dark shadows often seen on copies.

Please keep in mind that anything you scan on a copier is actually an image file.  You and I can pull it up and see the text on the screen, but the computer will not recognize it and be able to read it.  There is a very easy way to change this to readable text if you have Adobe Pro on your computer and are willing the take that extra couple of minutes. 

  • Towards the top of the screen there is a “tools” menu option. 
  • Open up that tool bar, scroll down to “text recognition” and select “in this file.” 
  • Adobe will then run through, recognize the text, and then you just need to save it.  Not everything will be that clean but that process should take care of most.  If you want test out the readability of it, go the “view” from the top menu and select “Read out loud” at the bottom.
  • Then put the cursor where you want it to read.

For the adventurous faculty who wish to take the extra step to clean up scans, benefitting all students, adjust certain elements such as:

  • Straightening pages
  • Splitting pages
  • Removing dark margins

There is a free, easy to use software program called ScanTailor that you can use to accomplish that task.  Please feel free to contact us in Banacos for instruction or even a cheat sheet to help you get started.

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Audiovisual material

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Videos

Why do I need to do this to videos?

What is my role in videos?

What is the student’s role in videos?

What is Disability Services’ role is videos?

Why do I need to do this?

Ensuring that video and audio material is accessible to students can be as simple as confirming that captions are already available.  It can also be as complicated as going through and manually adding the captions – a truly time consuming task!

What is my role?

As a faculty member, please make an effort to select video materials with captions available as often as possible.  When captions are not an option, sometimes the simple solution is to update your materials.  For example, the VHS tape may not have captions, but the newer DVD of the same material might.  If your original materials had captions but the version on the Pipeline does not, please check in with CIT so that they can re-stream your materials to include the captions.

For YouTube content, there are automated captions available on many of these videos; however, it is not always accurate.  If you pull up a You Tube video and see a series of parentheses on either side of the captions, that is the automated version.  You can preview the video with the captions on to determine the accuracy – very few YouTube videos with automated captions are actually accurate enough to be of use to the student.  If you are the owner of that specific video, you do have the access to add in captions or to edit the automated version for accuracy.

There is also a free subtitle editor called Amara that can be used to add captions to You Tube and other content.

What is the student’s role?

Students are responsible for submitting a reasonable accommodation request to the Banacos Academic Center detailing the courses for which they may need video/audio accessibility.

What is Disability Services’ role?

For all remaining materials we will work with you on adding captions into the existing video or creating a transcript.  In order to accomplish this, we will need all of the relevant information from you as early as possible.  Ideally we are provided with direct links to the content and/or loaned copies of the materials to work with.

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Powerpoints with audio

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