What Is Alternative Media?
For additional information contact
Alternative Media Specialist (AMS) (650) 949-7673,
, Left of Room 3611
Adjacent to the Tutorial Center.
If you are a student who has been approved for alternative media as an
accommodation, please click here to request services
Alternative Media is any instruction related material which is converted or altered from its original state into a different format so it is accessible and usable by people with disabilities. This may include, but is not limited to, Braille, ASCII text, large print, recorded audio, electronic text (e-text) formats, and video captioning.
Examples Of Alternative Media
- Electronic Text (E-text) has emerged as a convenient and popular
method of providing access for those individuals who cannot use standard
printed materials. Partially sighted individuals can use E-text by taking
advantage of built-in options within many standard software applications
(to adjust font size) or through the use of specialized screen magnification
software. E-text can also be used with screen reading software to output
the text to a speech synthesizer or refreshable Braille display. The
main advantage of E-text is that it can be easily stored, can be
searched and indexed, and can be converted to large print or hard
copy Braille through use of a translation program.
- Providing materials in a recorded audio format is one method of making
information accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. Many
individuals with learning disabilities also use materials in audio format
because users difficulty processing printed information. Audio material is
commonly recorded on CD-ROM, MP3 player, cassette tape, or other storage
media. It is also possible to produce material in audio format by having
E-text read with a speech synthesizer.
- Closed captioning is a system developed to display text on a television
or video screen. Captions and subtitles make videos accessible to a wider
audience by allowing viewers who can not otherwise understand the audio
track to follow along, especially those who are hearing-impaired. Closed
captions typically display a transcription of the audio portion of a
program as it occurs, sometimes including non-speech elements to help
viewers follow the dialog, like descriptions of music, phones ringing,
and other sounds in a video's audio track.
- This alternate media is often provided for students with limited sight.
Producing large print copies of material is simple if the document is not
too lengthy and is available in electronic text, although some reformatting
may be necessary.
- One alternative to hardcopy large print is the use of a closed-circuit
television (CCTV) system, which permits the magnification of the paper being
- Braille is a system of reading and writing for blind individuals.
The basic unit is the Braille cell. We are able to produce Braille information
using desktop software, refreshable Braille display, and Braille
- We can produce diagrams printed on heat-sensitive paper with raised
lines and images used by the blind.
Procedures for the Student to Receive Textbooks
or Print Materials in Alternate Format or Text-to-Speech
- In order to prepare for your next quarter course schedule, check
the online course schedule at www.foothill.edu for classes, instructors
and times for classes before your registration date and time.
- Obtain the list of course textbooks from the online bookstore. Books
that are "required" can be requested in an alternative media from the publishers.
- Complete the Alternative Media Request form and submit to the Alternative
Media Specialist who requests the textbook publishers for possible E-Text formats.
- Purchase each required textbook or print materials and give receipt
to the Alternative Media Specialist.
- There is no guarantee the publishers will provide the E-Text nor
estimated time of reception. An alternate solution is cutting the
binding off your printed book and scanning the text. Your book can
be rebound later. Depending on workload, the AMS may do all of the
scanning, part of the scanning, or may show student how to do their
- The E-Text files can then be used with our lab software programs
for assisted reading and studying. Free E-Text reading programs are
available for home or off-campus use.
- If you drop the class you must notify AMS immediately to halt
work on those books.
The Disability Resource Center (DRC) takes precautions to regularly update
its virus protection software and to test its assistive technology. The ALD,
DRC, or AMS is not liable for any damage or data loss on students' computers
resulting from the use of E-text. Frequent back up of your system is recommended.
To Receive Course Materials, Homework Assignments
and Tests on Disk from Your Instructor
- Make an appointment with your instructors before the class begins
and submit to them the Accommodations Form. This form will be given
to you by the DRC counselor/coordinator at the time you receive the
Alternate Media Request form.
- The Accommodations form will inform the instructors:
- You are eligible for the service.
- You are requesting that all course materials including
a syllabus, handouts, tests, or reading lists (e.g. sequence of
textbooks, chapters, or pages) be given to you or the AMS on disk
in either a .doc file format or in a .txt file format.
- Informs the instructor that incidental materials
must be made available to the DRC three days before the date
and time they will be used in class and one week before final exams.
Note: Students wanting to keep the class material in
alternative format must provide the DRC with audiotapes or
computer disks for incidental materials.