Alternate Media Services

Description and Types

"Alternate Media" is created when printed materials are converted into other formats for use by persons who have print impairments and cannot access information through traditional print materials. The "alternate" part refers to the fact that the print has been changed so that is it enlarged, in e-text or audio format, or in Braille and can be "read" using a computer or a mobile device.

Most commonly students need alternate media textbooks, instructional materials, and exams in the classroom. Other college materials not readily available on line on De Anza's web-site, such as publicity materials, or program brochures, can be made available in alternate media, when requested with sufficient notice, by students or the public. Members of the public may request alternate media of general college materials not available on line by contacting the Alternate Media Specialist.

Students with print impairments are most successful when they learn how to effectively use the various types of access technology for their alternate media needs. At De Anza, before students request books and materials, the alternate media process helps them understand the most effective technologies and format(s) available. 

Students are encouraged to independently access materials when possible, such as:

  • Web-sites are often easily made accessible using special software programs.
  • Students may independently order alternate media from outside sources.
  • Print materials can be directly accessed by scanning them into computer programs that enable them to be stored, read, and displayed in an accessible format. 
  • Computer stations with Kurzweil 1000/3000 software are located in the Cal Lab.

To request that DSS convert materials from print into alternate media, students consult first with their DSS counselor or LD Specialist.  The Alternate Media Specialist handles the specific requests for conversion.  See steps page for details on accessing these services.

Alternate media may be either:

  1. Produced on campus or
  2. Obtained from other sources, such as:
    • Publisher e-text,
    • Electronic repositories on the Internet, and
    • Other colleges and universities.

When alternate materials is ordered from an off campus source, students may not need to to provide the book to the Alt Media Specialist, but generally, the student will still be required to purchase the print copy and provide proof of that purchase.

1) Audio

Audio formatted material may be:

  1. Ordered by the Alt Media Specialist from an external source, if readily available.
  2. Converted on campus by the Alt Media Specialist from print by scanning and storing the data on electronic files for later student use on a computer, MP3 player, IPOD or other digital media device.
  3. Borrowed by the student from Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dylsexic)
    • Eligible students may obtain personal membership and order their own materials.
    • Materials are played on a Daisy player, available for purchase, or on short term loan from the DSS program.
    • Alt Media Specialist can assist students to
      • Apply for membership,
      • Learn how to search and order books, or
      • Operate a Daisy player for playing Learning Ally Materials.

2) Print

Print may be converted into a variety of e-text formats, including:

  • Kurzweil electronic file
  • MP3 audio file
  • PDF files
  • Word/text files
  • Daisy audio file
  • Braille translation
  • Others, as requested

These may be obtained in a variety of ways.

  1. Print can be scanned to E-text directly by the student using specialized software available on campus or for purchase to use on personal computers.
  2. The Alt Media Specialist may order E-Text directly from publishers or other E-text sources.
  3. The Alt Media Specialist may convert print materials provided by the student.
  4. Students may also be eligible for personal accounts to borrow e-text from internet libraries specializing in serving persons with disabilities. The Alt Media Specialist may assist students to locate and register with appropriate services.

Requests for Braille translation of texts, classroom or other college materials are made to the Alt Media Specialist. Tactile Graphics are produced by raised line technology.

Large print texts are limited in availability, bulky to handle, difficult to carry, and expensive. Effective, more flexible solutions for students who need to enlarge print size include the use of a:

  1. Computer to enlarge the print, using a software program such as Zoomtext
  2. Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV), located on campus in the CAL Lab and the Library to enlarge the printed textbook
  3. Digital music player, such as an Ipod, to listen to the text
  4. Portable tablet computer, such as an IPad to enlarge or listen to the text.

If no other viable alternative can be utilized, a hard copy enlargement can be printed from E-text, other electronic files or photocopied from the print material directly

General Alternate Media Guidelines

Student Responsibilities

1. Student Responsibilities


Students must request an Alternate Media accommodation from their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist for authorization. An authorization must be submitted to the Alternate Media Specialist before alternate media can be requested.

Students are required to provide proof of purchase textbooks or other materials to be converted unless a publicly available copy is legally obtainable or the materials are provided to all De Anza students at no charge.

Students must sign off that they will not share or duplicate alternate media provided through DSS, nor permit anyone else to do so.

    • Electronic files are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed in a format other than that provided to the student.
    • Any further reproduction or unauthorized use is a violation of copyright law.

Misuse of alternate media may result in college disciplinary action.

Students must submit all requests in a timely manner, taking into account that delivery turn around time varies depending on the:

    • Format of the original source material,
    • Conversion process required,
    • Scope of the project,
    • Number of projects in priority order.

Students must alert their DSS Counselor or LD Specialist in the event that they are unable to or are delayed in obtaining required book information or course materials.

Materials and Preference

The College produces alternate media for only those materials:

  • Directly related to instruction, or
  • Required to provide access to college public information.

To determine and recommend the most appropriate format, the Alternate Media Specialist may consult with the:

  • Student,
  • DSS Counselor
  • LD Specialist, and/or
  • CAL faculty 

Preference is given to the format specified by the student, when possible.

Materials available on-line in an accessible format will typically be accessed directly by the student, using assistive technology on campus.

Students will be provided with one alternate format only for each material requested. Multiple formats may be provided as an exception only on recommendation by a CAL instructor for the purpose of evaluating or learning appropriate assistive technology.

If a Daisy version or other alternate media of your choice is not available, the Alternate Media Specialist will advise regarding other options.

Timelines and Priorities

2. Timelines and Priorities

Projections of completion or delivery dates for alternate media are determined on a case by case basis.

After receipt and review of an authorized Alternate Media accommodation and any accompanying materials, the Alternate Media Specialist will notify the student of a projected completion date. 

For alternate media requests of course examinations/tests:

    • Students must have followed the Steps and Guidelines for Test Accommodation. 
    • Arrangements must be made with the testing proctor a minimum of one academic week prior to the exam is or by the final exam deadline, whichever is applicable.

2.2.1 Priority Order
Alternate Media production will normally follow a priority system, as follows:

    • Examination materials
    • Required textbooks
    • Class handouts
    • Required supplemental course materials
    • General college materials 

Scanned Materials

3. Scanned Materials

3.1 Quantity for Scanning:

Books submitted for scanning will be scanned in their entirety, unless otherwise specified on the authorized Alternate Media accommodation.

Requests to scan only a portion or parts of a book are honored only on consultation with the Alternate Media Specialist or on the request of the DSS Counselor or LD Specialist.

3.2 Book Handling:

Books to be scanned will have their bindings removed. The book will be returned, unbound, with the alternate format materials.  Students may have the book rebound in a spiral binding at their own expense.  Student can make a special request for the binding to not be removed if no more than 50 pages are to be scanned.  No more than 2 requests in a quarter are permitted.

Equipment and Materials on Loan

4. Equipment and Materials Loan

4.1 Terms of Loan:

Daisy CD Players may be borrowed on a short term basis only.  Students are expected to purchase their own player whenever possible.

Daisy books are loaned for a one quarter term.

Electronically-formatted books from the Alt Media Specialist are on loan for a one quarter term.

4.2 Return Due Dates:

All quarterly loans are due back in the DSS office no later than the last day of the Finals period.

Resolution of Alternate Media Issues

5. Resolution of Alternate Media Issues

5.1 Exceptions to the Alternate Media Guidelines:

Any exception is subject to approval by, as appropriate,

    • Alternate Media Specialist
    • DSS Counselor or LD Specialist
    • DSPS Dean

5.2 Accommodation Effectiveness:

Questions or concerns about accommodation effectiveness should be brought to the attention of the DSS Counselor or LD Specialist as soon as possible.

Alternate Media Request Fulfillment Timeline by Format

Alternate Media Request Fulfillment Timeline by Format

Library Accounts

Set up library account: 2 days


• Configuring equipment for demonstration or student loans: 2 days

 Production Formats

• Exams (any electronic format): 2 days

• Exams ( hard copy from outside vendor): 2 weeks

• Class handouts (any electronic format): 2 days

• Class handouts (hard copy from outside vendor): 2 weeks

• Tiff: 2 days

• PDF: 4 days

• Kurzweil: 4 days

• Word: 6 days

• Daisy text: 6 days

• Plain text: 6 days

• Epub: 8 days

• Kindle: 8 days

• mp3 audio: 10 days

• Daisy audio: 10 days

• Unusual formats (e.g. Ruby, WYNN, ODF, Works, WordPerfect, etc.): 10 days

• English Braille: 10 days per 500 pages

• Foreign language Braille: 3 weeks per 500 pages

• Technical (music, math or science) Braille: 3 weeks per 500 pages

• Tactile graphics: 3 weeks

• Large print (standard): 2 weeks per 500 pages

• Large print (technical): 3 weeks per 500 pages

• Large print (non-standard): 4 weeks per 500 pages

• Request from publisher: Publisher controls the timeline


1) Timelines are based on standard business days only

2) Add an extra day to electronic formats

3) Add an extra day to hard copy formats

4) Materials that take more than 10 days are usually supplied by outside vendor

5) Job will commence only when specific email request is received. Request must include desired format, author, title, publisher, copyright and edition with optional ISBN.

6) If student only want e-text supplied by publisher, the publisher controls the format and delivery date. Student needs to bring in hard copy book for scanning to receive it in a timely manner.

How to Order Alternate Media


Step 1 - Authorization

Meet with your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist within a week after you register for a course to:

  • Determine and sign-off on your initial Alternate Media Accommodation Authorization:
    • NOTE: Timeliness is important because adequate time is necessary to:
      • Research sources,
      • Obtain alternate media from:
        • Off-campus sources, or
        • On-campus production
  • Renew the Alternate Media Authorization each quarter within a week after you register for a course.

Alternate Media Orientation and Selection

Step 2 - Alternate Media Orientation and Selection

Attend an Alternate Media Orientation at the Computer Accessibility Lab (CAL):

Advanced Technology Center
Main level, Room 203, AT 203

CAL Hours:

Monday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Meet with the CAL faculty and the Alternate Media specialist to:

  • Familiarize you with assistive technology and alternate formats
  • Consult on the most appropriate assistive technology and alternate formats, and
  • Request and sign-off on the most appropriate Alternate Media for you

For Textbooks

The Alternate Media Specialist will determine wether:

  • The electronic format is available to order from an off-campus source.
  • You will need to provide a print copy to be scanned.

Requests may require proof of purchase.

Provide book information on the Alternate Media Request Form:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Edition number
  • ISBN number

Obtain this information from:

  • The Bookstore. Explain that you need the information for an alternate media order.
  • The Bookstore website.
  • Course instructor or department/Division office.
  • For assistance, contact your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist.

For class handouts or supplimentary materials, first ask the instructor to provide material directly:

  • By emailing the Alternate Media Specialist.
  • As an electronic file on a USB flash drive.
  • By printing it in large print, if applicable to you.

If not available from the instructor, submit print materials to the Alternate Media Specialist.

  • Provide entire quarter's materials together, if possible.
  • Provide as early in the quarter as possible (within the first week of the quarter).

For exams in alternate media:

  • See your DSS Counselor or LD Specialist to authorize a Test Accommodation.
  • Follow the Steps for Test Accommodations.
  • The Test Proctor will arrange for your alternate test materials AFTER you have made your testing appointments.
  • Coordinate testing appointments for the entire quarter, if possible.

Problem Resolution

 Step 3 - Problem Resolution

Resolve any problems in a timely manner. A timely Alternate Media Request is required.

  • To your receiving your alternate media as soon as possible.
  • Adequate time is necessary for alternate media specialist to
    • Research sources,
    • Obtain alternate media from:
      • Off-campus sources or
      • On-campus production.

If you cannot complete your alternate media request, contact your DSS counselor as soon as possible to problem solve:

  • If book information is unavailable.
  • If you have difficulty obtaining class handouts.
  • If you encounter other obstacles.

Materials Pick up

Step 4 - Materials Pick up

Pick-up Alternate Media materials in the DSS Office:

Disability Support Services
Registration and Student Services Building - RSS 141

Step 5 - Got questions not answered above?


  • Your DSS Counselor
  • Your LD Specialist
  • The Alternate Media Specialist

Disability Information Student Handbook (DISH)

Disability Information Student Handbook


Visit us at DSS

registration and Student Services, home of Disability Support Services

Location: Registration and Student Services Building, RSS Room 141 (Map)

(408) 430-7681

(408) 864-5492


Office Hours:

  • Monday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Tuesday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Wednesday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Thursday 8 am - 5 pm
  • Friday 8 am - 3 pm
  • Closed weekends and School Holidays

Larger view of map

Disability Support Services

  • Building: RSS - 141
  • Contact: Patricia Whelan
  • Phone: (408) 430 - 7681
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