Alternate Textbook Program

If you are a student with a print-related disability, you may obtain all your printed materials such as textbooks, syllabi, handouts and exams in an alternate format. This service is provided by the Office of Alternate Media. In order to receive this accommodation, registered DSPS students must meet with a DSPS counselor each semester and complete an Alternate Media Request Form. In addition, you are generally required to purchase the textbooks for which you are requesting alternate formats. Students seeking these materials must be approved for the accommodation by a DSPS counselor and are encouraged to submit their media requests 4-6 weeks before the semester begins. You will be notified when materials are available for pickup. It is often the case that electronic text that is generated on campus will be provided in installments.


Alternate Formats Available

  • Electronic Text (E-Text in Microsoft Word, searchable PDF and DAISY formats)
  • Digital audio files
  • Braille
  • Large Print
  • Tactile graphics


Equipment Available

To access the above materials, the following equipment is available for loan or use on campus each semester. The link: Assistive Technology page has more details on resources throughout campus for students with disabilities.

  • Digital playback units – Completion of an Equipment Loan form is required.
  • Braille embosser – Stationary unit available in the Assistive Technology lab
  • Tactile Graphic Drawing Kit – Available for use on campus.
  • Perkins braillers, Conventional braille writers that may be useful in math, science and where literary braille is helpful for a blind student.


Adaptive Software Available

The following adaptive software is available for your convenience in accessing your alternate media.

  • Jaws, a screen reader for the blind
  • ZoomText, screen enlargement software for students with low vision
  • Kurzweil 3000, a scan and read program
  • OpenBook, a scan and read program for the blind
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking, voice recognition software
  • Balabolka, Text-to-speech software used by students with Dyslexia and other learning difficulties. This is freeware software that is often distributed to students for home use.


Alternate Format Timeline

Alternate formats for textbooks, syllabi, exams and other handouts require a varying amount of production time that is listed in the table below. Ideally, students should have all textbooks available on the first day of class. This is best achieved by registering early and submitting your requests 6 weeks before the semester begins. Mid-semester requests are processed in order of receipt and require the course syllabus to begin processing at the appropriate chapter.


Alternate Media Timelines 
Type of Alternate Media Time Required
Learning Ally Digital Audio 1 week
E-text 3/days/chapter
Large Print Textbooks 3 days
Large Print Handouts 1 day
Braille Textbooks 6 weeks
Braille Handouts 2 days
E-text from Publisher 6 weeks
Tactile Graphics 10 days
Exams 2 days

note: This table indicates an estimate of delivery time that is required for the various media formats.
Actual time will vary depending on content complexity.


Appeals Process

If a student feels that their request for alternate media has not been reasonably met, the student may use the Student Grievance Procedure and Due Process Policy, listed in the BCC 2013-2015 Catalog, to address their concerns.


For more information, contact:

Roberto Gonzalez, Alternate Media Specialist     510-981-2826