Alternative Media Guidelines
The following guidelines are designed to assist the Disabled Students' Program (DSP) in providing you with timely and effective Alternative Media Services. DSP continues to be actively engaged in identifying ways to better serve students with print disabilities. If you have questions about, or ideas for how to improve, any of the following guidelines, contact the Alt Media Specialist by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (510) 642-0518.
DSP provides alternative media for required reading assignments listed on the course syllabus. Alt media requests for recommended readings may also be granted (see below). Please note that there are Library Services for students with print disabilities (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/Help/print_disabilities.html).
Enroll in your Courses during the First Day Tele-BEARS Phases I and II Open
As a DSP alt media student, you receive priority enrollment, which gives you the opportunity to register for your courses during the first day of both Tele-BEARS Phase I and Phase II, (Two weeks before Tele-BEARS Phase I opens and two weeks before Tele-BEARS II opens, the Registrar's Office will notify you by email of the specific date/time of your appointment to register online for courses.) Enrolling the first day of Tele-BEARS Phase I means you may enroll in most courses as far in advance as nineteen (19) weeks before the first day of class. Early course enrollment (if promptly followed by your alt media request) enables DSP to produce your complete alt media by the first day of class.
Submit Your Request for Alternative Media as soon as you can
Submitting your alt media requests as early as possible makes it more likely you will receive all of your alternative media material prior to the start of a semester. Once the course materials are announced for any course in which you are enrolled, immediately submit an alt media request. Go to your bSpace account (under DSP tab) to confirm DSP has received your alt media request.
Ask for Help if Classes Start in Six Weeks and Course Materials Are Not Yet Announced
The University is aware that course instructors do not always identify course materials six weeks or more before classes start, and that materials are not always available as soon as they are announced. If six weeks prior to the start of the semester, course materials have not yet been announced/made available for a course in which you are enrolled, submit an Alt Media Notice. The instructor will be contacted to attempt to expedite identification and availability of course materials.
What is an Alt Media Notice?
Send an email to email@example.com with subject heading line "Alt Media Notice." Indicate the reason you are unable to submit course materials for conversion to alt media, e.g., readings for your course are not yet announced/available. In the email identify the course name and number, the course instructor, and if available, instructor's contact information (email/phone). Also identify the course materials (if announced).
Making a Request for Alternative Media
If you drop a course or an instructor changes your reading assignment, notify the Alt Media Assistant so that we may focus on alt media needed by you or others.
Use the Alt Media Request Form [pdf | doc], which may be printed off the DSP website or obtained from the DSP office receptionist. Probably the most important factor in how soon you will receive your alt media is how far in advance of the start of the semester you turn in your alt media request. An inaccurate or incomplete request increases the risk of a delay in providing you with your alt media. The Alt Media Assistant is available to help you complete this request form. Email an electronic copy of the completed Alt Media Request form, and accompanying documentation (below) to the Alt Media Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org or give a hard copy to the DSP office receptionist.
Identify Due Dates for Reading Assignments: when available, the course syllabus (with due dates for reading assignments) should be submitted with your alt media request.Recommended (But Not Required) Reading Assignments: in addition to DSP providing alternative media for required reading assignments, alt media requests for recommended readings listed on the course syllabus may be granted when the student intends to read the materials and there is a specific academic benefit to the student, such as extra course credit. The standard production turnaround times do not apply to alt media requests for recommended readings, which have lower priority than requests for required readings. Within three business days of receipt, DSP will notify the student if the alt media request for a recommended reading is being granted, and the estimated date of completion. The volume of pending alt media requests for required readings, the difficulty of producing the alt media for the specific recommended reading, and the purpose for which the recommended reading is needed all impact turnaround time. Submitting Materials for Conversion Provide the DSP office receptionist the materials to be converted into your preferred alt media format at the same time you submit your completed alt media request form. However, even without materials you may email an Alt Media Notice (see above) if it is six weeks before start of class and the reason you are unable to submit materials to DSP with your alt media request is:
- The course instructor has not yet announced course textbooks/course reader.
- The bookstore/copy center does not have the announced course book/reader in stock.
- You arranged for book to be sent directly to DSP by a bookstore or vendor, e.g. Amazon.
- A source from which to obtain materials in an electronic format has been identified.
Within three business days of submitting your materials for scanning/editing, the original materials will be returned to you for your use while waiting for your alt media. When DSP scans a bound book or course reader to provide alternative media, the book/reader will be cut into separate pages for rapid scanning, then rebound. (At the semester end, rebound books may be returned to the campus bookstore just as other rental or used books.)Verify your ownership of textbook/course reader (copyright issues)
DSP usually may not release to you the alt media version of the book/reader until you provide verification of ownership of the source material. Normally, this means submitting a copy of your purchase receipt. If you do not have a receipt, you may sign a statement certifying "I am requesting an alternate format of a textbook that I own or that has been purchased on my behalf." (When an electronic version of your materials is available from the publisher, a receipt of purchase may be required and there may be a delay in completing your alt media request while DSP waits for you to provide a receipt of purchase). Hand your receipt to DSP office receptionist or email scanned copy to email@example.com.
When Will I Receive My Alt Media?
For the real-time status of your alt media request, go to your bSpace account (under the DSP tab). If the original estimated date of completion must be adjusted, you will be sent an email with the revised estimated date of completion.
The following chart sets forth timeframes generally required for DSP to provide alt media materials that require further conversion and editing. You may get your alt media sooner than the schedule below, and on rare occasions some course materials may take longer.
General Timeframes* for Obtaining Accessible (Edited) Alt Media
To be sure you have your alt media three days before the start of classes, submit your alt media request during Tele-BEARS Phase I or within the first three business days of TeleBears Phase II. For Tele-BEARS dates, see the Registrar's website (http://registrar.berkeley.edu/).
Notify Us of Assignment Due Dates: DSP will make best reasonable efforts to provide your alt media prior to any assigned due date about which you notify DSP, but do not rely on getting your alt media sooner than these estimated turnaround times set out below.
*Standard Production Time (SPT): producing edited alt media usually takes ten (10) business days for most textbooks, and seventeen (17) business days for most course readers. Please remember that the Alt Media Center is extremely busy two weeks before classes start, and continues to be busy until four weeks after classes start, so completion of an alt media request for a textbook or course reader may take up to five business days longer if submitted during this peak busy six-week period.
bSpace Postings and Hard Copy Handouts vary widely in length and complexity, but in general take the same amount of time to convert into alt media as course reader articles (see SPT above). Please deliver the bSpace or handout materials being requested, along with your alt media request, either via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hard copy to the DSP office receptionist. When alt media staff are asked to go to your course bSpace account to find materials, this takes extra time.
When a shorter turnaround time is urgent to complete a required course assignment, you may prioritize conversion of a portion of your textbook or course reader by submitting the standard alt media request form and (in the upper right hand corner) writing "URGENT: Due Date (write date assignment is due)". Urgent alt media requests will be processed in the order received from all students. Only one urgent alt media request per course will be processed at a time from the same student. In each urgent alt media request form you may designate for alt media conversion:
- Textbook: up to two chapters (or 50 pages) = five (5) business days turnaround
- Course Reader: one article (up to 30 pages) = eight (8) business days turnaround
- bSpace/handout: one article (up to 30 pages) = eight (8) business days turnaround
Specialized Text: please submit your request for specialized text as far in advance as possible. DSP will make its best reasonable efforts to provide such alt media as soon as possible. Specialized text takes longer than the standard production time due to:
Subject Matter: math, science (including computer science), foreign language materials
Scan Conversion: materials are un-scannable due to handwritten mark-ups, illegible Xeroxes, non-standard font/formatting resulting in alt media staff having to re-type text
Paper Production: Braille or large print that requires re-formatting/re-pagination
Requests for Extensions of Time: If a student promptly files an alt media request as soon as instructional materials are available, but nevertheless is unable to complete a course assignment or take a course examination because his or her instructional materials were not accessible at the same time as they were to non-disabled students, the student may ask the DSP Specialist for a Letter of Accommodation requesting the instructor grant the student an extension of time to complete the assignment or take the course exam.
While You Are Waiting for Your Alt Media…
If you anticipate needing access to information within the materials during the three business days DSP has possession of your materials for purposes of creating alternative media, you may self-scan in advance (before submitting to DSP) that portion of the materials you anticipate needing during these three business days.
While waiting for your alt media, you may need interim support to meet course expectations in your ongoing classes. In addition to self-help options, you may want to ask your DSP Specialist for additional support, such as arranging for a reasonable extension of a course deadline for an assigned reading or other appropriate interim accommodation such as a personal reader. Contact the Alt Media Assistant if you believe an unedited electronic version would be helpful while you are waiting for the edited alt media (unedited scanned material has not been proofread for errors occurring during scanning).
Where to get Your Completed Alternative Media Materials
When your request for alt media has been completed, all electronic text materials will be posted to your DSP bSpace unless you make arrangements with the Alt Media Assistant to pick up digital text on a disk or portable drive. Alt media in a hard copy paper format, e.g. Braille or large print, will be made available for student pick-up at DSP Office (call ahead to be sure DSP receptionist will have the materials on hand when you come by).
Any materials provided to you by DSP may not be copied or distributed in any manner that violates copyright law. For example, if you sell the original hard copy version of a copyright protected text, you must promptly return the converted alternative media version to DSP or delete your electronic version yourself. DSP will ask you for written confirmation that you will handle your alt media materials appropriately.
Immediately Notify Us of Any Problems
Promptly inform the Alt Media Assistant of any problems with alternative media provided to you. DSP will investigate the reported problem and take appropriate steps to resolve it.
There are several self-help options available for obtaining reading materials in various digital formats. You may contact the Alt Media Assistant if you need assistance using any of these self-help options. If under these Alternative Media Guidelines DSP would otherwise produce alt media for a required or recommended reading, using self-help options does not preclude you from obtaining further editing by DSP of the electronic copy you self-scanned or self-converted.
Self-Search: there are many databases/inventories of electronic books/materials (some in an accessible format, others not). You may be able to locate an existing electronic copy of the book you need by yourself—many electronic books are available for free, e.g., BookShare, www.bookshare.org and (for a nominal fee) Learning Ally, www.LearningAlly.org. Before submitting an alt media request for a book, you are encouraged to first check these primary e-book databases for availability of an existing electronic copy. If you need assistance, the Alt Media Assistant can help you:
- set up an account with these e-book databases
- retrieve an electronic copy from an e-book database
- convert an electronic copy into your preferred alt media format if the book is for a required or recommended assigned reading.
Self-Scan: There are several options available that you may want to use to self-scan hard copy printed materials when the amount of material involved is small, and you want the materials very quickly. To make this as easy as possible, scanners (with multiple formatting choices) are located in almost all libraries and in the Alternative Media Center (AMC). DSP students with print disabilities may use any of these scanners at no charge (ask Alt Media Assistant for more information). You may also be eligible for a funding grant to buy a personal scanner under the DSP Student Tech Grant Program, http://dsp.berkeley.edu/grants.html.
Self-Conversion (from one electronic format to your preferred alt media format): there is an online free tool, SensusAccess (http://sensusaccess.com/Description.aspx), which is designed to enable you to convert from one electronic format to your preferred alt media format.