Alternative Format Textbooks and Materials

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Receiving Alternative Format Textbooks and Materials

Alternative Format textbook/material is an accommodation provided for Webster University students registered with accommodations through the Academic Resource Center. Books and other printed materials are obtained and converted into an electronic format so they can be accessed via computer, phone, or tablet. Formats typically include Kurzweil, PDF image, PDF readable, RTF, electronic text enlargement, audio, and Braille.

In order to receive alternative format textbook services through the Academic Resource Center, a Webster student must be documented with a disability for which the agreed-upon academic accommodations include alternative format textbooks. The ARC processes alternative format textbook requests for all Webster campuses. If you are interested in alternative format textbooks and materials as one of your accommodations, please contact the ADA coordinator at 314-246-7700.

Alternative Format Text Policy and Guidelines

  • Ensure that you are properly documented for accommodations with the ARC or with your local campus.
  • You are required to rent or purchase a copy of the text that is provided in an alternative format.
  • You will be asked to provide a receipt or proof of purchase or rental of the text.
  • Your request may not be processed until proof of purchase or rental is provided.
  • Please note that digital textbooks might not be accessible with text-to-speech software.
  • You must complete the Request for Alternative Format Textbooks and Course Materials form the first time you request books or other materials. Some browsers do not support the fillable forms below. Use Internet Explorer to activate fillable forms. Print out the forms below and fill them in by hand if IE is not available.

Click here to download the Alternative Format Request form.

Click here to download the Textbook Request form.

  • Return the Alternative Format Textbook form to the Assistive Technology Program Coordinator at atarc@webster.edu along with your proof of purchase or rental.
  • Please provide your textbook information as early as possible in order to allow time for the materials to be requested and prepared.
  • Please note securing texts in alternative format may take several weeks, and that it is each student's responsibility to seek other resources in the interim.
  • You may not revise, convert, disassemble, modify, sell, license, rent, lend or otherwise share the electronic texts or other equipment to any other person.
  • You are responsible for notifying the Assistive Technology Program Coordinator if you need other classroom materials, such as handouts or readings on Canvas, converted into an alternative format.

How Books are Obtained

Electronic book files come from several sources. Publishers and some services have PDF versions of books. When converted into Kurzweil, these electronic books look exactly like the paper version of the book.

Often trade books (novels, biographies, etc.) come through a different service called Bookshare. Although these files contain the same content, the pages look very different. More text per page is displayed on the screen, and the page numbers do not align. These books also contain no images.

Click here to see the difference between a PDF file converted to Kurzweil and a Bookshare file.

Sometimes files for books are simply not available. In this case, students are asked to purchase rather than rent the book. The ARC staff sends the book to the campus Mail and Copy Center where it is unbound, scanned to a PDF, and rebound with a spiral binding. Although the paper book is usable again, it cannot be resold due to the spiral binding.

Click here for printable instructions on requesting books.

Please contact the Assistive Technology Program Coordinator at 314-246-4245 or atarc@webster.edu with questions.