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Access (Accommodation) Services and Academic Success Services - Students with Disabilities

Roles and Scopes of Access and Academic Success Services for Students with Disabilities

Text in Alternative Format Service

Students with disabilities that produce barriers to conventional access to print can request access to texts and course packs in digital formats. Text-to-speech software such as Kurzweil 3000 is typically used to listen to digital versions of text material. Text in a format compatible with Kurzweil 3000 can be read aloud within the software or converted by the student to an audio file (.mp3) through the software. Digital text can also be used with refreshable Braille displays for Braille users.

Students must be officially registered in the course for which the text is required, be registered with the CAL and make requests for materials each term with enough notice that materials can be sourced and adapted. Some materials take longer to provide so students are encouraged to reach out early to initiate contact and their requests (i.e. months ahead).

CAL Alt text staff:

  • work with students to understand their use of screen reading technologies (text to speech software, braille software, etc.)
  • find out about their progress using these to access text based materials and troubleshoot or make recommendations where required
  • order materials (i.e. textbooks) in electronic formats from CAPER BC, the provincial alt text centre at Langara College
  • use specialized software to translate/edit selected documents not obtainable through CAPER BC into accessible text
  • perform other assorted tasks associated with obtaining materials for conversion into accessible text formats
  • prioritize conversion of materials based on course outline/schedule of dates
  • priority and workflow is established to meet the volume of requests for the term

Staff work with instructors, departments and the bookstore to:

  • clarify which materials will be used in course as early as possible (advance provision of syllabus/course outline/schedule of readings and assignments aids in this task)
  • gain access to course source materials (i.e. in D2L) to review and determine which may need to be adapted into accessible formats
  • request and establish a D2L login on specific courses where alt text requirements may be more complex
  • request specific text materials that may not be available on D2L after access has been granted
  • provided we have been notified by the student, CAL staff will reach out to course instructors and departments with as much notice as possible (months) when coordinating a plan for sourcing/adapting complex materials for students who have no or low vision. In these situations, CAL will request to work with course instructors and departments to obtain a comprehensive overview of materials/documents/sources used in the course to assess/test what the plan will need to be for conversion to accessible formats.

Text in alternative formats are sourced and prepared to generally accepted standards and principles that exist across post secondary institutions in Canada.

Text is typically prepared in PDF for use with Kurzweil 3000 software which is software the college provides all students access to. Text in alternative format for students with low or no vision receive text in formats compatible with JAWS, NVDA or ZoomText. For information on formats, check with CAL Alt text staff.

Permission to reproduce in alternative formats derives from Section 32. of the Canadian Copyright Act: Persons with Perceptual Disabilities.