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What are alternate format materials?

Alternative text formats are provided as accessible digital versions of course material such as textbooks, course packets, and other printed material that can be used with various types of assistive technology. Students with Alternate Format as an accommodation can request accessible versions of course material directly from SAS using the Alternate Format Request Form (instructions below).  Depending on the type of material, SAS may pull accessible versions from online repositories or convert materials in house.

Requesting Alternate Format Materials

If you are unable to find an accessible version of the material you need, you can request an alternate format version through SAS. SAS recommends that students submit requests at least three weeks before they are needed for class.

  1. Log in to the Student Accommodation Portal to confirm that you are eligible for "e-text" as an accommodation. Remember, you must request accommodations at the start of EACH semester.

  2. Obtain a list of required materials from Akademos, Canvas, or by emailing your instructor.

  3. Check to see whether the course materials are available in electronic format. 

    1. If you need an accessible version of a textbook, you can search publisher websites as well as third-party vendors. 

    2. If you need accessible versions of course materials, you can search the IC library or look online for accessible copies. 

Acquiring and producing alternate format materials is a time-intensive process. Getting requests in early is the best way to ensure that materials will be ready when they are needed for class. 

To obtain material in an alternate format: 

  1. Assemble the information and documents required to request material 
    • Class information (course name, number, section, course instructor) 

    • Book information (title, author, edition, ISBN number) 

    • Proof of purchase (for books only) 

    • Documents you wish to have converted (PDF files, image files) 

  2. Read the Alternate Format Service Policy 
  3. Complete the Alternate Format Request Form (log in with your IC Account) 
  4. Monitor your IC email account for messages from the SAS staff regarding your request for alternate format material.

SAS works with book publishers, online clearinghouses, and other sources to obtain electronic versions of course material. In the case of course packets, articles, and assignments, SAS will work directly with instructors to create accessible materials. Students are emailed once material is available for download.

Text-To-Speech Options

Students who receive alternate format material from SAS can use a text-to-speech reader to have digital text read out loud to them.

SAS does not offer audiobooks as an accommodation. If you are interested in obtaining audiobooks, you can search for them in a number of different places, including (but not limited to):

The following list gives a number of different options for text-to-speech (TTS) readers:

Bookshare Accounts

Qualifying students can obtain Bookshare membership accounts through SAS. Contact the Adaptive Technology Specialist at sas@ithaca.edu for more information.

Bookshare is an ebook library with more than one million titles. It includes books for school, career, and ready pleasure, as well as titles in over 34 languages. Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare is free for all qualified U.S. students and schools. Qualifying individuals who are no longer students can obtain individual memberships for a low yearly fee.

Qualifying students who request a Bookshare account will start out with an Organizational membership. This means that SAS can assign books to a student but the student is not able to search or download books on their own. With the Organizational membership, however, a student can then create an Individual membership, which will allow them to find and obtain books independently. To obtain an Individual membership:

Log in to your Bookshare account (SAS will send initial username and password information once you have an Organizational membership).

  1. Select the My Bookshare link in the top right corner of the page.
  2. Select the Upgrade to an Individual Membership! link on the left side of the page.
  3. Review the instructions and select the link to sign up.
  4. Complete the sign up form to upgrade to a Linked account.

Note that, for members under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must complete the sign up process. If you have any trouble obtaining an Individual membership, contact SAS for assistance.

Individual Bookshare memberships expire every year. If you are a continuing student, SAS can renew the membership for you. If you have graduated (or are no longer a student at IC) you can renew the membership yourself for a yearly membership fee of $50. 

Questions regarding Alternative Text Format?

If you have questions regarding alternate format materials, text-to-speech, or a related topic, contact our office to schedule a conversation with our Adaptive Technology Specialist.