Alternative Media Policy

Alternative media is the provision of printed materials in an alternative format for individuals with visual, physical or information processing disabilities. Alternative media, commonly referred to as “alt media” is the conversion of required course materials such as textbooks, coursework, exams and other print materials into an accessible format, such as PDF, RTF (Rich Text Format) or DOC (Document), DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System), MP3 (Audio) and Braille.

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) considers requests for accommodations including alternative media conversion on an individual, case-by-case basis. Student must be registered with the DRC and determined eligible to receive alternative media services.

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) accommodates students with alternative media accommodations from the assistance of the alternative media specialist.

  • Section 1: Alternative Media Student Eligibility

    Eligibility for alternative media services is based on proper medical documentation and assessment of a DRC case manager or director. Requests for materials in alternative format will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Once eligible, a mandatory alternative media orientation with the alternative media specialist is required to forego training on completing and submitting request forms, understanding the alternative media process and signing the alternative media service agreement.
  • Section 2: Student Responsibilities

    Students are responsible for requesting all reading materials for class, prior to the beginning of the semester.

    The DRC encourages all students to explore means of accessible course books (electronic format) using, but not limited to the following sites:

    If an electronic version is found, the DRC encourages students to explore means of accessible text readers using, but not limited to the following sites:

    If the student is unable to locate an accessible textbook from outside sources, the student will contact the alternative media specialist to request a one-on-one consultation.

    During the one-on-one consultation, the student is required to bring:

    • Course syllabus for each class requiring alternative media services
    • Complete paper copy or online alternative media request form [PDF]
    • Proof of purchase of requested textbooks (i.e. receipts)

    Communication between the student and the alternative media specialist is crucial, in order to receive the best outcome and access to course materials. Be mindful that emails are the preferred method of contact and will be coming from sa_alternativemedia@emich.edu.

    Please inform the office if a course has been dropped and/or materials are no longer needed for a class.

    Speaking with your Instructor

    1. Provide instructor(s) with your DRC Letter of Accommodation (LOA).
    2. Discuss course assignments in detail.
    3. Determine which text books and other reading materials should be converted in an alternative format.
    4. Determine when materials will be needed in class.
    5. Ensure the instructor(s) are aware that the quality of original materials is essential to successful reading materials conversion. (See attached Clear and Unclear Format versions)
    6. Inform instructor(s) if they have any questions to contact alternative media specialist at 734.487.2470 or via email at sa_alternativemedia@emich.edu.
  • Section 3: Expectations of the Disability Resource Center

    • The DRC will verify that students who request alternative media are eligible to receive alternative media accommodations.
    • The DRC alternative media specialist will meet with each student and provide the alternative media agreement [PDF]and training on how to fill out the Alternative Text Request Form when necessary.
    • The DRC will acquire or create an alternative format of the text(s) requested.
    • The DRC will locate, procure, or convert materials in a timely manner. Materials are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Every effort will be made to find textbooks that are already available in alternative formats and/or will be converted to the student’s preference. The DRC reserves the right to provide students with optional types of alternative formats as necessary to provide access. In such cases, the DRC will ensure that the format is accessible to the student. The student will be notified and involved in the process of deciding the best types of optional services.
    • Student’s requested alternative format texts will be available for pick up at the DRC or through Dropbox. If an alternative format text is being provided in installments, the DRC will make every effort to notify the student that the next section(s) is completed and available for pickup or sent through Dropbox.
    • The DRC will assist the student if they experience difficulties in accessing or using the format provided.
  • Section 4: Faculty Information

    Students may request materials, such as class handouts, from instructor(s) to send to the DRC to convert with the Optical Character Recognition software. Please be aware of the following:

    • When sending copies to the DRC alternative media specialist:
    • Clean copies are suggested (no notes, pencil/pen markings, underlines or symbols written in the margins or on the pages of the materials). When copies have these markings and symbols the Optical Character Recognition software will not recognize them and will distort the document.
    • Please see the following “Clean" [PDF] vs. “Unclean" [PDF] attachments for more assistance.
    • Please send documents as an attachment or GoogleDocs to sa_alternativemedia@emich.edu. Processing for conversions can take three business days to two weeks.

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