Alternative Format Materials


Students may be eligible for alternative format materials as an accommodation, depending on the nature of their documented disability. Alternative formats allow student with print-related disabilities to access course materials in an electronic text (e-text), large print, Braille, or audio format. The use of alternative format materials ensures that students have equal access to the instructional materials used in their courses.

SDS staff members determine eligibility for alternative format materials as an accommodation during the collaborative interview process. Once approved, students sign the Alternative Format Agreement Form and request their course materials from the Associate Director for Assistive Technology. SDS provides students approved for this accommodation access to Read&Write, a take-home text-to speech software, to read their electronic text. Students need to have a Penn+Box account set up to receive electronic text.

Students can only request materials, including textbooks, articles, and lecture slides, for the courses they have registered for.  Due to copyright laws, students must show proof that they have purchased or rented a textbook before they can receive the alternative format. SDS provides alternative format materials for a student’s personal use only. Students agree not to share these materials with other individuals.

Student Request Process

Procedures for Submitting Requests

  • Submit Self-ID form and documentation to initiate accommodations request process.
  • Sign the Alternative Format Agreement Form during the collaborative interview.
  • Due to publisher guidelines and copyright laws, understand that proof of purchase is required for textbook requests and that alternative format materials should not be shared with others.
  • Setup Penn+Box to receive electronic text.
  • Meet with the Associate Director of Assistive Technology to receive access to assistive technology.
    • Take home access to Read&Write text-to-speech software
    • Accounts for Bookshare.
  • To request alternate format materials, login to MyWLRC, select Accommodation, and then select Alternative Format.
    • Click Student Entered, then click Upload Document for Alternative Format Request to provide book or article information.
    • Textbook requests should include proof of purchase, book title, name of publisher, the ISBN-13 number, and desired alternative format.
    • Turn-around time for most requests is within 3 weeks.

Timeline for Submitting Requests

  • Textbook requests are processed in the order that they are received. The earlier students submit their requests, the sooner they will receive their materials in alternative format.
  • It is recommended to submit requests before the start of the semester.
  • Requests for the following formats should be submitted 2 months before the start of the semester:
    • Braille
    • Tactile Images
    • STEM electronic text for students with low vision using screen readers
  • Requests for the following formats should be submitted 2-4 weeks before the start of the semester:
    • E-text (PDF, Word Doc, Plain Text, and HTML)
    • MP3 files/audiobooks
    • Large Print
  • Requests for articles, handouts, and lecture notes can be made as needed during the semester.
  • If SDS is unable to obtain an electronic copy of a textbook through the publisher or other means, the student will be responsible for providing their physical copy of the book to be scanned.

Receiving Materials

  • Allow 1-3 weeks for most materials.
  • SDS needs up to 1 week to receive the publisher file and up to 2 weeks to format the text.
  • Students will be notified when their course materials are available.
    • Electronic text (e-text) will be available for download in their Penn+Box folder
    • Large print and Braille will be available for pick up at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center.
    • Students are encouraged to use text-to-speech software to read electronic text