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Alternate Media

Alternate media, or alternate format, are general terms used to identify documents and educational materials provided to students with print-based disabilities in lieu of the original format. For example, a student who is blind may request the hard-copy textbook as braille, electronic text (e-text), or an audio file. Similarly, students with different learning disabilities may request printed books or handouts to be converted into e-text in order to read and interact with the information using various assistive technologies.

Alternate media production is the process by which the original formats are converted into a version used by the student. This conversion process can be time consuming and, if there are any delays to identifying a required course textbook or reading sections, then students with disabilities may not receive the alternate version in a timely manner.

Some best practices to streamlining the production of alternate formats include:

  • Adopting accessible instructional materials that, if needed, can be easily transformed into alternate formats
  • Identifying textbooks well in advance of campus bookstore deadlines
  • Notifying students to submit alternate format requests as early as possible

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