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Is My E-Text Ready?

By Carol Houston, High Tech Center Coordinator/Instructor, Services to Students with Disabilities

“Is my e-text ready?” is the common question the students with print disabilities have been timidly asking the Alternative Media Unit  in the Services to Students with Disabilities’ High Tech Center as they see the stacks of books lined up for digital conversion.   This Spring semester the Alternative Media Unit has received approximately 418 requests for alternative media (e-text, Braille, audio, large print) from over 94 students.   The numbers will continue to climb as new students are referred by their Services to Students with Disabilities counselors for this accommodation.

 The students needing alternative media receive priority registration so textbooks can be purchased and  brought in early since the process may take two weeks or longer depending on the workload.  In a perfect world all alternative media would be completed and ready by the first day of the semester.  The single most critical element to making this timely process work is knowing what textbook(s) will be used for the students’ classes.   Professors are notified by an e-mail letter the end of the prior semester requesting that they submit their textbook selection for the next semester to the Bookstore as soon as possible.  The student may experience other barriers in planning for their alternative media but without knowing their required textbooks there is no solution. The flowchart explains the time sensitive conversion process:

View the flowchart

If the student is new to e-text or alternate media, an added step of training is needed to teach the appropriate software to facilitate access.  Kurzweil 3000, a scan/read software, is the most widely used program in the High Tech Center.  It is also available in the IRT-managed labs on campus as well as on the laptops on loan from the Help Desk. 

The Alternative Media Unit is fully staffed in the summer and during semester breaks working towards the goal of providing alternative media to students in a timely manner so their academic career will be successful.  The Services to Students with Disabilities’ High Tech Center welcomes your visits and questions (916-278-7915). Photo of student panel on accessible materials. Jake W., a Sac State student, is speaking

“Thanks to technology, I’m able to take my textbooks and scan them … the computer will read it to me…Thanks to professors that get their books turned in early.”   -  Jake W., Sacramento State Student

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