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Student health 101

Alternative Media


The Cal Poly Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides textbooks in alternative format for students with verified needs. Among those who may qualify are students with the following disabilities: visual, learning, ADHD, quadriplegia, and those with impaired hand dexterity. A variety of Alternative Media resources are available to facilitate student academic success. These resources may include, but are not limited to, Assistive Technology, the Alternative Media Library, Volunteer Readers, and professional national non-profit organizations. (top)

Step-by-Step Instructions for Requesting Textbook Conversion

Alternative Format Requests (PDF with screenshots)

DRC Alternative Format Requests (Video)

Process & Responsibilities

Student responsibilities

 Step 1-From the portal, request Alternative Media Services (AMC) by checking the classes in which the converted materials are needed.
 Step 2-Complete your request thoroughly, including:  class title; book title; author; edition;
 Step 3-desired format; chapters/pages needed; due date.

  1. Meet with your Access Specialist, who will explain and authorize use of Alt Media Services.
  2. By submitting an Alternate Media request, the student is affirming that all Alternate Media materials will be handled appropriately. Any materials provided by DRC Alternate Media Services may not be copied, shared, or distributed in any manner that violates copyright law.
  3. Once approved for service, students meet with the Alternative Media Coordinator, or assigned staff member, to discuss and determine appropriate format and receive training in accordance with the prescribed adaptive technology.
  4. Students must own a physical copy of the textbook and/or possess other curriculum handouts, course readers, etc.
  5. Immediately after registering for courses, students are responsible for obtaining a list of books (ISBN numbers for each book must be provided) for each class. Students can either check the Cal Poly University Store or contact the assigned instructor for class book lists. Per Academic Senate Resolution AS-654-07, departments are required to inform Cal Poly University Store of textbook and course pack selections for all courses requiring textbooks or course packs at least six weeks prior to the start of the academic quarter.
  6. Go to your Cal Poly Portal to request Alternative Media Services.
  7. So that the Alternative Media Services can successfully meet student needs, alternative media requests need to be thoroughly completed.
  8. In order to ensure the Alternative Media Services can create materials in a timely fashion, students need to submit requests prior to the up-coming quarter. Students adding classes during the beginning of the quarter must obtain a list of books for each class and submit to Alternative Media Services as soon as possible. Late requests will be accepted and processed as quickly as possible. Late submissions are those requests received after the quarter begins.
  9. Electronic versions of text books are initially requested from the publisher; if publisher electronic files are not available, students must provide their textbook for production. If a textbook is needed for production, Alternative Media Services staff will contact the student.
  10. Students will be provided with ONE alternative format copy for each material required for academic use. This electronic file is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed in a format other than a specialized format exclusively for AMC users. Any further reproduction or distribution in a format other than a specialized format is an infringement of the laws governing the production and distribution of alternative media.
  11. At the end of each quarter, students are to return any alternative media provided by the AMC. Upon request, the AMC can give students a copy of the material if a CD-ROM or other comparable media is provided.
  12. Requests for Curriculum Course Readers, Lab Manuals, Articles, Handouts and Syllabi Requiring in Alternative Media
  • Ask instructor if the material(s) is in electronic format (via PolyLearn, Course Web Site, etc.).
  • If yes, the materials should be accessible and usable with your computer and speech-to-text software. If the material is not accessible ask the instructor to e-mail an electronic copy to you or to the Alternative Media Center (AMC) at altmedia@calpoly.edu
  • If the information is available on a web site (i.e., New York Times, Newsweek, etc.) e-mail the file to the AMC.
  • If the material is not available in electronic format, submit the print material to the AMC.


DRC responsibilities

After receiving an Alternative Media request through the portal, AMC staff will:

  1. Request electronic versions of text books from the publisher.
  2. Contact the student if publisher electronic files are not available to request his/her textbook for production.
  3. Provide one alternative format copy for each material required for academic use
  4. Notify the student by e-mail when alt media is ready for pick-up.
  5. Timelines for Creating and Providing Alternative Media
    Every effort will be made to provide alternative media in a timely manner. Production time for alternative format requests is determined on a case-by-case basis upon review of material to be formatted and converted.
    • For required textbooks or other required course materials, the AMC will ensure that the standard production time is not longer than six (6) weeks following the student’s request. Generally, the AMC is able to respond to requests within 3 weeks.
    • Syllabi, handouts, tests, quizzes and exams will be produced as quickly as possible. The following timelines apply:
      • Alternative format exams will be available on the same day as the exam (However, intricate and/or complex formats such as Braille and math and science graphics will require advance coordination between student, faculty and the AMC.)
      • Syllabi will be available within 2 working days of submission.
      • Handouts up to 15 pages will be available within 3 working days of submission.
      • Handouts of 16-30 pages will be available within 4 working days of submission.
      • Handouts of more than 30 pages will be available as soon as practically possible following submission.
  6. Additionally, students can use the self-service resources in Kennedy Library to scan and convert materials independently.



You may contact Rita Gonzalez (altmedia@calpoly.edu), Alternative Media Coordinator, with any questions or concerns. (top)


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Location: Bldg 124 (Student Services, across from Spanos Stadium)
Phone: 805-756-1395
Fax: 805-756-5451
Email: drc@calpoly.edu

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