Disability Services and Programs for Students

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Instructional Formats


SBCC strives to educate instructors on their role in providing accessible course materials to students with disabilities.  Support in the creation of accessible materials is available through the Faculty Resource Center by following the captioning and transcription procedures and accessibility strategies for instruction.

Legal References and Guidelines: 

Sec 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Regarding Technology (Federal, 1998)
Requires federal agencies to make electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities comparable to the access available to others.

(Senate Bill 105  codifies in state law the obligation of state agencies and entities receiving state funds to comply with the requirements of section 508). 

Assembly Bill 422 (California, 1999) codified in Section 67302 of the Ed Code.
AB 422 requires every publisher of printed instructional materials to provide those materials in electronic format for students with disabilities attending University of California campuses, California State Universities, or California Community Colleges and provide them in a timely manner at no additional cost upon the receipt of a written request and evidence of a student's receipt of purchase.

Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines for Students with Disabilities (2011),  California Community Colleges


For Civil Rights

“‘Accessible’ means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology.” (Resolution Agreement South Carolina Technical College System OCR Compliance Review No. 11-11-6002).

In your role as an instructor you will be:

  • Identifying barriers and systemic issues that affect timely delivery of instructional materials to postsecondary students with disabilities;
  • Discussing technical solutions that could improve timely delivery of instructional materials to postsecondary students with disabilities;
  • Analyzing how to create and improve the use of instructional materials in your classroom.

Accessible Media

As an enrolled student, you may come across print materials that are inaccessible to you in the standard classroom format.  You may request materials in an alternate format as a reasonable accommodation.  Approval is based on disability-related functional limitations.

As an instructor at SBCC, you may be asked to make your instructional materials accessible to students with disabilities, in order to provide timely access and participation in the curriculum. 

The most common barriers found in a classroom setting are listed below:


Images are found in course materials: Power Point presentations, web-based technology products, course packs and textbooks.  Images may be photographs, illustrations, graphics, charts, icons, animations, cartoons, etc.  Students with print impairments may ask for images to be labeled with an “alt” tag in order to be read in the background with a screen reader or other text-to-speech technology.


Barriers that text in course materials pose include: font size, size format, color emphasis, colored type,  or varied layout on a website or in a learning management system.   Students with print impairments may request text in Braille, or in a digital format with which they can use a software based screen enlargement program.  This allows the user to have control in setting font size, format and other attributes. Students may ask for flexibility in the delivery of print materials so they are available in audio format.  "Talking books" can provide audio feedback through human narration or digital output.  Print can also be read by using a software based screen reader.  Keep text in electronic format which is the most accessible and flexible should an alternate format be required.



Audio content appears in many types of course materials:  audio found in course materials include: a variety multimedia materials.   Students may ask for flexibility in the delivery of print materials so they are available in audio format.  “Talking books” can provide audio feedback through human narration or digital output.  Print can also be read  by using a software based screen reader.



Examples of video found in course materials include: videos to convey history re-enactments, story examples, demonstrations or simulations in the classroom, movie clips.  Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may request captioned videos in order to have a text-based equivalent of oral information. Media to be captioned includes online video clips, DVD’s (check to see if it is time to swap out old versions of media) and videos created by the instructor.

How do students use assistive technology?  

 Adaptive Software Demonstration on ZoomText, JAWs and Dragon


Ordering accessible textbooks: Questions to ask publishers and textbook representatives

 1) If I select an online textbook, what do you provide for students with disabilities who may need it in an alternate format ( such as electronic text, enlarged print or braille).

 2)  What is the process for a student to receive an accessible format?  Can you send me the link where the information is listed on your publishers website? 

 3) What is the accessibility of the test/quiz banks of questions?   What testing do you do to ensure a student with a disability can access the content with the assistive technology such as screen readers for users who are blind.

 4) Do you provide links to websites, videos or audio files with your online textbooks?  Are the links descriptive?  Videos captioned?  Is there a transcript for an audio file?  Is there a text-to-voice function 

 5) The goal is to have a dialogue about choosing the best materials for your class including students with disabilities.


  • Is your online textbook 508 compliant?  How is this so?  Can students who use  text to-speech (TTS) and screen reading assistive technology software access contents of the book easily?
  • Do you offer your own proprietary text to speech option built-in to your textbook?
  • Are videos and animations included in the textbook?   Are they captioned or subtitled?   Is there a transcript?   Is the transcript visible along with video/animation?
  • Discussion forums?   Can a student use screen reading/text to speech software within the discussion forum??  Using assistive technology such as voice to text software, for example the program Dragon Naturally Speaking?
  • Workbook/worksheets/handouts?  Can a student using assistive technology access content with screen reading/text to speech software?   For example, Dragon Naturally Speaking software?


 6) What screen reading software is compatible with the vendor’s proprietary interactive software or course materials site?  This video shows demonstrations by students using screen enlarger, screen readers and speech recognition

 7) What other standard assistive technology software is compatible (and usable) with the vendor’s proprietary interactive software or course materials site(s)?   

 8) What training is provided to me as faculty using your online materials to ensure that all accessibility features are activated and engaged? 

 9) What is the process/response time for technical help, questions,  or additional to ensure access for textbooks?

10)  Does your support desk also respond to our disability services office if they need to intervene in support of me, working with the student in my class?

Ask about the usability and inter-operability of their materials. 

  • Does any software need to be installed on student or college computers? 

  •  How will students gain access to the materials?
    • Do students need an access code for the online textbook?   Does it expire?   When does it expire?   As the instructor, make the computer requirements explicit on your syllabus.
    • What is the student actually paying for?   Some students would like to own the material so they have it for future reference (rather than just online during the term.)

Examples of publisher’s accessibility statements (from their websites).  Does your publisher have one?

Please refer students to DSPS for further support to identify accessible textbook formats.

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