Alternative Format

The DRC provides Alternative Media solutions to students to make course text accessible for all students. Note: The term “Alternative Media” is used interchangeably with “Alternative Format” or “Alt Media.” 

Students who have an approved accommodation for Alternative Media may request to have their course textbooks and Canvas readings converted to an alternate format. Students should follow the How To – Request Alternative Format Guide to request this accommodation. For any questions, please contact our Alternative Media Production (AMP) Team.

Disabilities that may qualify students for Alternative Format accommodation may include (but are not limited to):

  • Dyslexia and other print-related disabilities
  • Specific Learning Disabilities (e.g. ADHD)
  • Blind or Low-Vision impairment

Alt Media Solutions

With alt media accommodations, students can use Assistive Technology software for:

  • Text-to-Speech (TTS)
  • Highlight and scan text 
  • Enlarge text
  • Create audio files

Specialized formats such as Braille or raised graphics can also be produced if needed.

DRC students are encouraged to have a discussion with DRC Staff  to see if Alternate Format accommodations would work for their disability related coursework needs.

Do-It-Yourself Solutions

SensusAccess Document Converter Tool (Free for students)

SensusAccess is a self-service solution that automates the conversion of documents into a range of alternative formats including Braille, mp3, Daisy, and e-books for the visually and reading impaired.

This software requires a UCSC email address, <cruzid>

Built-in Functions of Popular Services

We encourage students to use the software most already own, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, to use “read aloud” and other “text-to-speech (TTS)” functions. 

Kurzweil 3000

If students qualify, DRC may grant a license to Kurzweil 3000 software. Kurzweil 3000 is a scan-and-read software program that students can use to access their reading materials, whether on the web or in digital file formats (PDF, DOCX). Kurzweil uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to convert inaccessible versions of text into text that students can select and hear read out loud by the program. When reading texts with Kurzweil, students can see the text highlighted and can adjust the size of the text for easier viewing. Kurzweil also offers many annotation features and writing supports that can enhance a student’s learning experience.

The DRC can show students how to use Kurzweil 3000 to make course readings accessible. 

Last modified: Mar 11, 2024