SF State - Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI)

Image: Photos of the SF State campus and students using a headset, a braille keyboard and a blind cane

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to submit my textbook adoption orders so early?

The ultimate challenge is to provide instructional materials, including online course materials, to students with disabilities at the same time it is available to any other enrolled student. To reach that goal, sufficient time needs to be allowed for obtaining or creating alternate formats.

If publishers are unresponsive or uncooperative at providing an electronic version of the textbook (e-text) intended for those needing an alternate format to the standard print version, then theDisability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is tasked with essentially creating e-text.

This re-creation involves a timely conversion process: scanning, converting the image to text, correcting misread characters, reapplying format styles and reordering elements that were jumbled in the conversion, explaining images and figures, and sometimes recreating tables. If books don’t arrive in the bookstore until a couple weeks before class begins, then it becomes difficult to process the bottleneck of 150-200 books at once in a timely manner.

Academic Senate Policy #S08-249 recognizes this need and details the rationale at the following link on timely textbook adoption.

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Why do I need to make materials accessible if I don’t have any students with a disability in my class?

The ultimate challenge is to provide a learning environment that’s accessible to everyone regardless of disability.

  1. How do you know a student with a disability is not enrolled in your class? Disabilities manifest themselves in various degrees. They’re not always visible or apparent, and a student will not necessarily identify themselves as having a disability.
  2. One ultimate outcome of the Accessible Technology Initiative is that all materials will be accessible to as many people as possible from the outset. As instructors want to reach as many people as possible in their instruction, this principle ensures that nobody falls through the cracks.

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How will I know if there is a student with a disability in my class?

The ultimate challenge is to provide a learning environment that’s accessible to everyone regardless of disability.

Students are not required to self-identify their disability. That is each student’s prerogative. Those who are registered with the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) are encouraged to discuss their needs with instructors.

One thing to keep in mind though is that students with disabilities may feel ashamed, may be in denial or may be even unaware that they have a disability.

All students eligible for services through the DPRC meet strict documentation requirements.


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What are the critical dates I need to be aware of?

Textbooks: Usually mid-April for Fall semesters and mid-October for Spring semesters – Textbook Adoptions to bookstore. Visit the bookstore's website for exact dates.

Multimedia: Allow 4 weeks before planned show dates for videos that need captioning.

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What can I do if I don’t know ahead of time what textbook or other materials I will require for my class?

In those situations it's important that the instructor be in close communication with the student and the Accessible Media Coordinator in order to make the necessary information available as soon as possible.

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I have a full teaching load, so I do not have a lot of free time, but are there manageable things I can do as an instructor to assist the students in my class who require alternate formats?

There are 3 things that are not too time-consuming but would be tremendously helpful to a student who uses accessible media.

  • First, select your textbooks in a timely fashion. If we have 7-8 weeks lead time, we can find or produce the books by the start of classes.
  • Second, when you have a course reader that needs to be converted to another medium, give us the cleanest copy you can, either your master copy or links to on-line articles if possible. It takes us three times as long to proofread a course reader as it does a textbook because of the varying quality of the material, so you can help speed that up considerably.
  • Third, plan your reading schedule well in advance and stick to it. Because of the volume we deal with, we have to produce books in pieces according to the reading schedule. If your schedule is not clear or you change it after the class starts, students who use alternate media can be without reading materials for 1-2 weeks while we convert the newly assigned material.

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Submit your questions to the Access Support Team.

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