Alternative Format Materials

Alternative Format Materials - Policy and Procedure

Eligibility for the accommodation of alternative format materials (e.g. E-text, enlarged print, etc.) for qualified students with disabilities is determined on a case-by-case basis. For further information on registration procedures and documentation guidelines, please visit the 'Getting Started' and the 'Documentation Guidelines' section of our website.

The office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) coordinates the process of converting print materials into an accessible format for students eligible for the accommodation of alternative format materials. The most common types of alternative format materials include:

  • E-text (Electronic Text, including PDF and Microsoft Word documents)
  • Enlarged text
  • Braille
  • XHTML (used for converting math equations/symbols into a readable audio format)
  • Tactile imaging

Students will work with an Accessibility Specialist in SAS to determine the best method of delivering alternative format materials relative to the student’s specific need and the nature of the course. SAS will make every effort to provide the format preferred by the student; however, we cannot guarantee the material will be produced in the student’s first choice of format.

Converting textbooks and other print materials is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. Please review and follow the steps outlined below to help ensure that your materials are provided in a timely fashion. We also encourage you to review the tutorials for accessing alternative format materials and the FAQs listed below.  

Student Responsibilities:
  • REQUEST: Students eligible to receive the accommodation of alternative format materials should request accommodation letters and any necessary alternative format materials through their profile in Access KSU after scheduling classes each semester. SAS recommends requesting your alternative format materials a minimum of 2-4 weeks prior to the start of the class. Late requests for alternative format materials may result in delays in providing you with your accessible materials.  
  • AGREE: Students must read and electronically sign the Alternative Format Materials agreement located on the homepage of your profile in Access KSU each semester.  
  • PROOF OF PURCHASE: For purposes of copyright considerations, students are required to provide proof of purchase to SAS for textbooks, workbooks, and other purchased course materials before SAS will release the student’s alternative format materials. After you requested your accommodation letter, select Alternative Formats and select the course materials you want. Scroll down to Upload Book Receipts to complete the request. 
  • ACCESS ALTERNATIVE FORMAT MATERIALS: Textbooks and other course materials will be shared with students primarily through Google Drive or Bookshare. For help using Google Drive or Bookshare, please review the tutorials below.  
  • COMPLIANCE: Eligibility and consideration for this accommodations assumes the following:
  1. Alternative format materials are intended only for the student for whom it is required and who has requested the materials. Further reproduction and/or distribution may be an infringement of the Copyright Revisions Act of 1976 as amended, as well as the student code of conduct.
  2. Students are also responsible for destroying the alternative format materials when they no longer own the book (e.g. student sells the book back, or otherwise returns it) .
  • SCREEN READERS: Students needing materials in an audio format should download or purchase screen reading software. There are many text to speech software available. Examples include but are not limited to Microsoft ReadAloud, Windows Narrator, Apple VoiceOver and ChromeVox. If you would like help finding or using a screen reader please call 330-672-8037 or email
  • CLASS SYLLABUS: Students may be required to provide SAS with a copy of their course syllabus and will be notified if a syllabus is needed, preferably 1-2 weeks in advance. Exceptions may apply.
  • HANDOUTS, ARTICLES, ETC: Students should notify SAS and/or provide copies of handouts, articles, etc. provided in class, on Blackboard, or other course platforms.
  • CONTACT US: Students should contact Zach Strickler, Neurodiversity Coordinator, at or 330-672-3391 with questions or concerns. Students should also notify Zach immediately regarding any changes made to their class schedule.  
SAS Responsibilities:
  • Provide alternative format materials to eligible students in a timely manner with the understanding that students have requested these services and provided the necessary information in a timely manner as well.
  • Provide E-text primarily via Bookshare or Google Drive. Note that some exceptions may apply.
  • Make every effort to provide alternative media in the format preferred by the student; however, SAS does not guarantee that the material will be produced in the student's first choice of format.
  • Advocate on behalf of students who may not be able to access their requisite books due to faculty delays.
  • Respond to student (and faculty/staff) concerns in a timely manner.
  1. Why do I have to show proof of purchase?  Material in textbooks is protected under copyright laws; as such, students are required to purchase textbooks before an alternative format can be provided.
  2. How long does it take to get my alternative format materials?  There are a number of variables that influence the time frame. e.g., complexity of content, availability, length of materials, etc. Please allow plenty of time for the process to be completed.
  3. What can I do to ensure I have my books in an alternative format prior to class beginning?  Request your accommodation letters, identifying E-text as a desired accommodation, as early as possible. Be prepared to provide textbook information if requested, e.g., title, edition, and ISBN number. If you do not know the book information you can request it from your professor or contact the Kent State University bookstore.
  4. How can I have the text read aloud?  There are multiple software options that offer screen reading technology. Some common technologies include, but are not limited to; JAWS (typically used by students who are blind/low-vision), Read & Write Gold, and Adobe (Read Aloud function).
  5. What if I drop a class and no longer require the textbook that I have requested?  Please notify SAS as soon as possible so production of your textbook can be halted.
  6. Can I get alternative formats of my texts anywhere else?  There are a number of options for securing electronic versions of textbooks. A short list of available options is listed below. Please note, not all electronic textbooks are accessible as not all work with screen reading software. Before purchasing an electronic version of a textbook, be sure that it is compatible with the software of your choice.
  • Kent State University bookstore - Select the "Buy Digital" option via website
  • Bookshare is an accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Bookshare is a free service to U.S. students who meet Bookshare's qualifications. For more information, please visit the Bookshare website.
  • Learning Ally is an online service that provides audio textbooks and other literature to students and veterans. Learning Ally is a fee-based subscription. For more information, please visit the Learning Ally website.