Accessible Instructional Materials


The ability to provide equal access to all information and electronic technology for our students with print-related disabilities is critical to their educational success. Accommodations for our students with disabilities fall under the mandates of Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) is an accommodation approved by a Disability Management Specialist (DMS) on an individual basis through an interactive process between DMS and the student. It must be supported by the documented effects of the student’s disability. Any text that is required or supplemental for academics needs to be accessible. Accessible instructional materials are print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphic, audio, video).

We provide assistance for the creation of textbooks, instructional materials, and other printed information converted to alternate formats such as Braille, large print, or electronic text.

Major Types of Alternate Media

  • Electronic Text (E-Text) such as Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files, which can be accessed on a computer with screen reading or screen magnification software. E-text can be easily stored, can be searched and indexed, and can be converted to large print or braille.

  • Large Print documents for those with sufficient vision, large print is often desirable. Although they are somewhat bulky, materials in large print have the advantage of being relatively portable and requiring no special equipment while conveying all the graphic and spatial information contained in the original material.

    • E-texts are either created on campus by scanning the material or are acquired from the publishers, under the provisions of AB-422 Instructional materials: Disabled Students, which requires publishers to provide E-text to students with disabilities.
  • Braille is a system of reading and writing which is used by approximately 10 percent of blind and visually impaired individuals. Braille can be quickly referenced without any equipment and can include charts, tables, simple diagrams, and a reasonable approximation of the format of a printed document.Tactile Diagrams are printed on special heat-sensitive paper to produce raised lines and images accessible to people who are blind.

    • Fresno State University is equipped to provide braille material for students through the use of Braille translation software and a specialized braille printer. Requests should be made far in advance of need because it takes a considerable amount of time to produce lengthy, complex documents such as textbooks in braille.

Student Responsibilities

Upon approval of Accessible Instructional Materials, the student needs to:

For new students: schedule an appointment with a Disability Management Specialist (DMS) to establish services

  • Enroll in your courses during priority registration/registration period.

  • Complete Schedule Form & Request for Professor Letters and select Textbooks Alternate Format. Sign Alternate Format Student Contract when prompted by the SSD office. To access the Alternate Media forms, please visit SSD's Forms page.

    • Late requests will be processed in the order received.
    • Changes to alternate media requests due to schedule revisions or cancellations should be reported to Alternate Media Coordinator (AMC) as soon as possible to be processed in a timely manner.
  • Purchase textbooks and course packs.

    • Proof of purchase is required to obtain a publisher's e-text copy for alternate media production of any materials which the college requires students to buy.
    • The student may not copy or reproduce any alternate media provided by SSD, nor allow anyone else to do so. Electronic files are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed in a format other than that specifically provided for use by the student with a disability. Any further reproduction or use is a copyright infringement. Misuse of alternate media may result in disciplinary action and/or suspension of services.
    • Students will be provided with one alternate format for each material required.
  • Respond promptly to any correspondence you receive from AMC and SSD Alt Media Staff. Notify AMC of any concerns.

    • Students will be notified through email with a downloadable link of instructional materials. It is often the case that electronic text that is generated on campus will be provided in installments.

SSD Responsibilities

Upon approval of Accessible Instructional Materials, SSD will:

  • Evaluate student's needs during AIM Orientation.

  • Locate a pre-existing accessible version, if available.

  • Create an accessible version, if needed.

  • Distribute accessible materials.

Instructor Responsibilities

  • To submit instructional materials information to the Kennel Bookstore according to deadlines.

  • To respond to SSD or student inquiries regarding instructional materials needed for accessibility in a timely manner.

  • Provide good source files for articles (SSD calls articles (reading materials) distributed through learning management systems "files" for simplicity and consistency).

  • Provide accessible versions of files (HTML instead of PDF) whenever possible.

  • If a student needs alternative media, please provide SSD upon request with syllabi, textbooks, and instructional materials (it is recommended that course materials are prepared 5 weeks prior to the beginning of the course) in order for students with disabilities to use alternative media when all other students have course materials. With such timely consideration, students with disabilities who have alternative media needs for accommodations and instructional access will be best served. Converting print materials is both labor and time intensive. Alternative media may be print material in Braille, scanned into digital media or enlarged.

Copyright Statement

Under US Copyright law, accessible files (also known as "Alternative Format"), provided to the student can be used solely for eligible student's own educational purposes and cannot be copied, shared, or distributed for use by others. The receipt of any alternative course materials from California State University, Fresno, Services for Students with Disabilities office is a declaration by the student that:

  1. The student qualifies as having a disability that is certified by the California State University, Fresno SSD office, and that disability requires the use of these alternative course materials.

  2. The student is currently registered at California State University, Fresno or registered at a participating consortium membership institution at the time of the student's request for text in alternative formats.

  3. The student will not copy, reproduce or share any of the specialized formatted texts, nor allow anyone else to do so.

  4. The student already possesses the course materials he/she is requesting in an alternative format and will provide proof of such possession if required to do so by SSD on behalf of the copyright holder.

How are textbooks/books converted?

Student makes a request for textbooks/instructional materials for a class.

AMC seeks additional book information if needed. NOTE custom versions of textbooks will require additional communication from the instructor or department.

  • AMC looks for pre-existing accessible versions. This often involves:

  • Checking repositories

  • Asking the publisher


    electronic files are available

  • AMC and production staff will convert source files into desired product. This often involves:

  • Student providing a physical textbook,

  • Having the spine removed,

  • Scanning the entire text into an image file

  • Using Optical Character Recognition Software (OCR) to produce desired product

  • Editing files further

  • AMC or lab production staff will notify the student when the complete text is ready OR if part of the text is ready.

  • AMC will distribute books when ready

How are course packs converted?

A coursepack is a collection of journal articles or chapters or book excerpts from a variety of sources. Many times, course packs are physically printed and students are required to purchase from the Kennel Bookstore. Sometimes, course packs are available in electronic format to all students through a learning management system.

  • Student makes a request for accessible instructional material for a class.

  • AMC seeks additional book information if needed.

  • AMC will locate a source file using one of the following methods:

    • Obtain an electronic version of course pack, if sold through Kennel Bookstore
    • Request student to provide purchased copy of course pack
    • Obtain source file from the instructor
  • AMC will convert source files into desired product. This often involves:AMC or lab production staff will notify the student when the complete text is ready OR if part of the text is ready.

    • Scanning the entire text into an image file
    • Using Optical Character Recognition Software (OCR) to produce desired product
    • Editing files further
  • AMC or lab production staff will distribute course packs when ready.

Reasons why materials may be delayed

  1. The student recently became registered with SSD.

  2. The student has not had alternate media orientation or assistive technology orientation with the AMC or ATC.

  3. The student does not submit accommodation request on time.

  4. The student changes class.

  5. The instructor is changed.

  6. An instructor is not assigned early enough.

  7. Textbook information is not submitted to the Kennel Bookstore in a timely manner.

  8. The instructor changes required instructional materials after request have been submitted.

  9. Source files of books, articles or course packs are very poor and require reconstruction and editing of the text.

  10. Not all required reading materials are listed or available at the Kennel Bookstore.