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Alternate Format Materials

a) Course Materials

Students who have been referred to Accessibility Services, Scott Library by the appropriate Disability Services Office are given access to alternate format materials. Library Accessibility Services staff facilitate this access through a variety of means.

Because of the substantial time involved in ordering, taping, "Brailling" and scanning texts, it is essential for students and the library to have access to a list of required course texts and readings as early as possible in advance of the start of a course. It is the responsibility of the instructor to provide students with course outlines and reading lists as soon as possible so that students can make arrangement for material to be transcribed into an alternate format. Reading lists should indicate whether readings are required, recommended or supplemental research in order to determine priority of transcription.

Please forward your course reading list and direct any questions you may have about the process to the Manager, Library Accessibility Services (ext. 88877). Similarly, if a student asks you directly for a list of required readings please respond as soon as you are able.

b) Course Web Sites

Posting your course materials on the web is one way that you can provide all of your students with an alternative format for important course documents and updates. For some students with disabilities, the course web site can be the primary means of accessing course information. At the same time, web pages can present barriers for some of those same students. For example, if a page contains images, a student who has a visual disability has incomplete information about the page unless equivalent text has been provided for his/her screen reading software to explain the visuals. Other disabilities, such as low vision, mobility disabilities, seizure disorders, colour blindness, or attention deficit disorder, can also affect how a student experiences the web. Web designers are developing principles to take these individual differences into account and maximize the accessibility of web pages for everyone.

Fortunately, there are many simple things that you can do to improve the accessibility of your web pages even if you are not an experienced web author. The foundations of an accessible web page are correct formatting, complete information, and simple design—strategies you can apply whether you use Microsoft Word or an advanced Web authoring system.

Learn more about how to improve the accessibility of course web pages from York's Web Accessibility Site. Use the Learning Path to get started and delve into the resources area when you are ready for more.

Every faculty member is entitled to set up a course web site, and York offers support to help you get started. Talk to your local computer coordinator about what help is available through your Faculty, or visit the CNS Faculty Support Centre (1050 TEL, ext. 40233,,

c) Multimedia

Options for enhancing multimedia in the classroom or on the web include captioning (open or closed) and video description. Captions can provide viewers with synchronized text-based information showing verbatim dialogue, background sounds and sound effects. Open captions stay permanently on screen while audio or video is being viewed. Closed captions can be optionally turned on or off at the discretion of the viewer. Video descriptions provide verbal descriptions of what is happening visually in the video. A verbatim transcript of any multimedia is generally a first step in the process and once obtained, faculty can book a drop in workstation and training in Faculty Support Centre to add captions or video description to multimedia.

To reserve equipment and arrange training for multimedia captioning and video description, contact the CNS Faculty Support Centre (1050 TEL, ext. 40233,,



Updated on October 25th, 2013.