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Disability Resources for Students

Accessible Instructional Materials for Faculty

What are Accessible Instructional Materials?

Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) is an accommodation approved by DRS on an individual basis through an interactive process between DRS and the student. It must be supported by the documented effects of the student’s disability. Any text that is required or supplemental for academics needs to be accessible. Accessible instructional materials are print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphic, audio, video).

Examples may include:

  • Large print
  • Image files for students with mobility limitations or students with low vision.
  • Text selectable PDFs or Word documents that can be used with text-to-speech technology.
  • Text selectable PDFs or Word documents that contain STEM content (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) that can be used with text-to-speech technology.
  • Tagged text selectable PDFs or highly structured Word documents that can be used with screen reading technology.
  • Contracted or uncontracted Braille
  • Nemeth Braille (math braille)
  • Tactile graphics

Students may indicate their preference although preference may be limited by content of the material, specialized content, length of text, technology student is using, timeliness and other factors.

Instructor Responsibilities

  • To submit book information to the UW bookstore according to deadlines.
  • To respond to DRS or student inquiries about texts as soon as possible.
  • Provide good source files for articles (DRS calls files distributed through learning management systems “articles” for simplicity and consistency).

Student Responsibilities

  • For new students: schedule an AIM Orientation with the Access Text & Technology Manger.
  • Enroll in your courses during priority registration/registration period I.
  • Sign Accessible Instructional Materials Agreement when prompted in myDRS.
  • Select Accessible Coursepacks, Textbooks and Articles in myDRS.
    • Submitted request per the Services Timeline Request. DRS needs 4-6 weeks’ notice depending upon preferred output.
      • Late requests will be processed in the order received.
      • Changes to AIM requests due to schedule revisions or cancellations should be reported to DRS as soon as possible to be processed in a timely manner.
  • Partner with the Access Text & Technology Manager to get needed information from professor.
  • Check list and status of books in myDRS.
  • Purchase textbooks and coursepacks. Provide proof-of-purchase to DRS.
    • DRS will start the prep work for a text without proof-of-purchase.
  • Respond promptly to any correspondence you receive from DRS. Notify DRS of any concerns.

DRS Responsibilities

  • Evaluate student’s needs during AIM Orientation.
  • Partner with student and instructor to obtain needed information. A meeting between DRS, student and instructor may be needed. DRS will coordinate this meeting.
  • Locate a pre-existing accessible version, if available.
  • Purchase a copy to convert if no pre-existing accessible version is found.
  • Create an accessible version, if needed.
  • Distribute accessible materials upon receiving proof-of-purchase.

How are textbooks/books converted?

  • Student makes request for accessible instructional for a class.
  • DRS seeks additional book info, if needed. NOTE custom versions of textbooks will require additional communication from the instructor or department.
  • DRS looks for pre-existing accessible versions. This often involves:
    • checking repositories
    • asking publisher if electronic files are available
  • DRS will convert source files into desired product. This often involves:
    • purchasing own copy of the textbook,
    • having the spine removed,
    • scanning the entire text into an image file
    • using Optical Character Recognition Software (OCR) to produce desired product
    • editing files further
  • DRS will notify the student when the complete text is ready OR if part of the text is ready.
  • DRS will distribute book once proof-of-purchase has been received.

How are coursepacks converted?

A coursepack is a collection of journal articles or chapters or book excerpts from a variety of sources. Many times, coursepacks are physically printed and students are required to purchase from a copy shop or the UW bookstore. Some times, coursepacks are available in electronic format to all students through a learning management system.

  • Student makes request for accessible instructional for a class.
  • DRS seeks additional book info, if needed.
  • DRS will locate a source file using one of the following methods:
    • obtain electronic version of coursepack, if sold through UW bookstore
    • purchase physical version of cousepack, if sold through copy shop other than UW bookstore
    • obtain source file from instructor
  • DRS will convert source files into desired product. This often involves:
    • scanning the entire text into an image file
    • using Optical Character Recognition Software (OCR) to produce desired product
    • editing files further
  • DRS will notify the student when the complete text is ready OR if part of the text is ready.
  • DRS will distribute book once proof-of-purchase has been received.

How are files distributed through learning management systems (LMS) converted?

Files distributed through LMS are called “articles” by DRS for simplicity and consistency. These files are typically PDFs, word documents, image files, powerpoints or other text-based files. Many times, instructors will require that these articles are read in addition to textbook or novels. These articles are typically shorter than a textbook or novel.

  • Student uses SensusAccess to convert files, if source files are clean enough
  • Student emails printdrs@uw.edu if SensusAccess will not convert files accurately
  • DRS will convert source files into desired product. This often involves:
    • finding another source file online or with the instructor’s help
    • using Optical Character Recognition Software (OCR) to produce desired product
    • editing files further
  • DRS will notify the student when the text is ready

Reasons Why Texts May Be Delayed

  1. Student doesn’t request on time.
  2. Student changes class.
  3. Instructor is changed.
  4. Instructor is not assigned until classes start.
  5. Information is not submitted to UW bookstore in a timely manner.
  6. Instructor changes book list.
  7. Student has not had AIM Orientation with the Access Text & Technology Manger.

Resources

Students approved for Accessible Instructional Materials may find the following resources helpful.

Free online document conversion tool for UW students, staff, and faculty called SensusAccess

Link to myDRS Student Guide

Buy books online at UW Bookstore

Cool Technology: Text-to-Speech, Speech-to-Text, Notetaking