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Alternative Media Policies and Guidelines*

What is Alternative Media (Alt Media)?

Alternative media refers to an alternative or different format of materials, such as textbooks, which may include e-text, large print, Braille, assistive technology, etc. and is an accommodation approved on an individual basis through the interactive process between the student and their LAP Specialist.

Getting Access to Alternative Media
  • Please schedule and meet with your LAP Specialist as soon as possible to determine if alternative media is an appropriate accommodation.
  • Students may be referred the High Technology Specialist for assistance in determining what type of assistive software and/or alternative format is the best fit.
  • To schedule appointments:
    • Santa Maria Campus, please call 805-922-6966 ext. 3274
    • Lompoc Valley Campus, please call (805)-735-3366 ext. 5274
Alternative Media Policies and Guidelines

The following guidelines are to assist the LAP in providing you with timely and effective alternative media services.

  1. Enroll in your Courses during Priority Registration
  2. Submit Your Alternative Media Request as Soon As You Can
  3. Changing Your Alternative Media Request
  4. Verify Ownership of Textbook(s)
  5. When will I Receive my Alternative Media?
  6. While you are Waiting for your Alternative Media
  7. Accessing Completed Alternative Media
  8. Self-Help Options
  9. What about Exams, Quizzes, and other Course Materials?
  10. Alternative Media Policies
  11. Issues with your Alternative Media?

If you have questions or concerns about alternative media, please contact the LAP by email at or phone 805-922-6966 ext. 3274.

1. Enroll in your Courses during Priority Registration

As a LAP student, you receive priority registration, which gives you the opportunity to start registering for your courses during the first day of registration. Enrolling during the first day of registration means you may enroll in most courses as far in advance as 4 months before the first day of class. Your early course enrollment promptly followed by your alternative media request enables the LAP to produce your complete alternative media before the start of class.

2. Submit your Alternative Media Request Form as soon as you can

Submitting your alternative media request as early as possible makes it more likely you will receive all of your alternative media material prior to the start of the semester.

  • After enrolling in your courses, immediately submit an alternative media request using the Alternative Media Request Form.
  • After submitting your request, please check your email frequently as the LAP will send you an email acknowledgment which may include a reminder to show proof of textbook ownership, requests for more information, scheduled completion date, etc.
  • If we cannot find an electronic copy of your textbook, you may be asked to drop off a hard copy of your textbook so we can cut and scan it. We may also ask for a copy of your course syllabus.
    • If requested, please drop off hard copies of the materials or the syllabi as soon as possible.
    • Within three business days of dropping off the hard copy for cutting and scanning, the original materials will be returned to you.
    • Important: If the LAP needs to scan a bound book, the book will be cut into separate pages for rapid scanning, and then rebound. This may affect the book’s resale value.

Important: If by three weeks before a class starts, you have not submitted an alternative media request, the LAP may not be able to provide that course's textbook within the Standard Text Production Timeframes listed in the When will I Receive my Alternative Media? section of this document.

3. Changing an Alternative Media Request

If you drop a course, add a course, or an instructor changes your textbook, etc. please notify the LAP immediately so that we may focus on your revised alternative media needs.

  • Use the Alternative Media Request Form to report any changes to your alternative media request.
  • An inaccurate or incomplete request increases the risk of a delay in providing you with your alternative media.
4. Verify Ownership of your Textbook(s)

The LAP will not release the alternative media version of your textbook(s) until you provide proof of ownership, e.g. receipt of purchase.

  • Please bring proof of ownership to the LAP office or email a scanned or electronic copy of your receipt  to

  • If you do not have a receipt, you may sign a statement certifying that you are requesting an alternative format of a textbook that you own or has been purchased on your behalf. 

5. When will I Receive the Alternative Version of my Textbook(s)? 

The following timeframes are generally required for LAP to provide alternative media materials that need conversion and editing. You may get your alternative media sooner than the schedule below, and on rare occasions, some course materials may take longer. If the material takes longer than listed below, you will receive an email with the estimated date of completion.

To be sure you have the alternative versions of your textbook(s) before the start of classes, submit your alternative media request as soon as you enroll in courses during priority registration. Alternative media requested during priority registration should be ready at least three days before the start of classes.

  • Standard Text Production Time: Producing e-text for most standard textbooks and course materials, except Specialized Text (see below), takes ten (10) business days from the time permission has been obtained from the publisher.
  • Specialized Text Production Time may take longer than the Standard Text Production Time due to:
    • Complex Formatting of Subject Matter such as math, science (including computer science), foreign language materials, etc.
    • Paper Production: Braille or large print that requires re-formatting/re-pagination
    • Scan Conversion: Course readers, custom textbooks, lab manuals, marked-up materials or illegible copies requiring extensive text input by keyboard
    • Important: Please submit your request for Specialized Text as far in advance as possible. The LAP will make its best reasonable efforts to provide such alternative media as soon as possible.
6. While you are Waiting for Your Alternative Media 

If you have agreed to drop off your textbook(s) for cutting and scanning, but would like to start reading immediately using assistive technology such as text-to-speech, you may self-scan small sections before you drop off your textbook (The LAP typically needs three business days to cut, scan and rebind your textbook). See the Self-Help Options section if you need assistance with self-scanning.

7. Accessing Completed Alternative Media 

When your request for alternative media is complete, you will receive an email informing you of one or more of the following options:

  • E-text for use with Kurzweil has been uploaded to your Kurzweil account
  • E-text has been shared with you or uploaded to your preferred app
  • Large print, Braille or e-text on a USB/CD is ready to for pick up at the LAP Office you designated on your Alternative Media Request Form.

Important: Upon pick up, please double-check that you received the correct alternative versions of your textbooks, chapters, textbook version, etc.

8. Self-Help Options 

There are several options available for obtaining your reading materials in various digital formats without submitting an alternative media request. To learn more, please make a training appointment with the High Technology Instructor by calling 805-922-6966 ext. 3274.

  • Self-Search for Your Own Alternative Media:
  • You may be able to locate an existing alternative format of your textbook. Many electronic books are free or are free through the LAP, e.g., Bookshare or Learning Ally.

  • Before submitting an alternative media request for a book, you are encouraged to check the following databases:

  • For assistance setting up (usually) free Learning Ally and/or Bookshare accounts through the LAP, formatting/uploading your e-text, finding the appropriate assistive tech, etc., please make a training appointment with the High Technology Instructor by calling 805-922-6966 ext. 3274.

  • Self-scanning or creating your own alternative media:
    • When the amount of material involved is small, and/or you want the materials quickly, you may self-scan hard copy of printed materials using scanners on campus or your own equipment/devices.
      • Scanners and video magnifiers with speech are located in most mainstream computer labs and in the LAP Adaptive Technology Computer Lab.
      • You may also use your own device or a borrowed device to capture text with the built-in camera and translation capabilities for use with magnification, text-to-speech, etc.
      • To learn more about self-scanning, please make an appointment with the High Technology Instructor by calling 805-922-6966 ext. 3274.
9. What about Exams, Quizzes, and other Course Materials? 

In some cases, students will also need alternative versions of their exams, quizzes, and other course materials. The following outlines the process of obtaining alternative media versions of course materials besides textbooks and course readers:

  • Please schedule and meet with your LAP Specialist as soon as possible to obtain approval for alternative versions of your exams, quizzes and/or handouts. Alternative media is an accommodation approved on an individual basis through the interactive process between the student and their LAP Specialist.
  • Next, work with your LAP Specialist and/or the High Technology Specialist to identify the appropriate alternative media, such as e-text, large print, and assistive technology. To schedule an appointment with the High Technology Instructor, please contact the LAP 805-922-6966 ext. 3274.
  • If it has been determined that it is not possible to gain access to your exams, quizzes and/or handouts using assistive technology, your LAP Specialist will request by email that your instructor send all exams, quizzes, and other course materials to the Alternative Media Specialist for conversion.
  • Exam, quiz and other course material’s alternative media production is an interactive process between the student, LAP Specialist, instructor and the Alternative Media Specialist that can involve quite a bit of communication. All parties involved need to communicate clearly, check email frequently, and drop off and/or pick up materials in a timely manner for the process to go smoothly.
  • The alternative media production timeframe for exams, quizzes, and other course materials will follow the timeframes set forth in the sectionWhen Will I Receive Alternative Media?” however, the LAP will do its best to expedite requests with shorter turnaround times.  
10. Alternative Media Policies 
  • Alternative media is solely for your own educational purposes and cannot copied, shared, or distributed in any manner as this is in violation of the Copyright Revisions Act of 1978, as amended (17 U.S.C. Sec. 101 et seq.).
  • For copyright reasons, students must provide proof of textbook ownership.
  • If you sell, return or no longer have ownership of the original textbook, you must return the alt media version to the LAP or delete your electronic version.
  • Publishers may require verification of disability.
  • Pick up your alternative media in a timely manner.
    • Students who do not pick up their alternative media in a timely manner will receive an email notification that production has been suspended until the student confirms that alternative media is still needed.
  • Please inform the Alternative Media Specialist as soon as possible if you drop a course and no longer need your alternative media or if your alternative media needs change.
  • Failure to abide by this agreement may constitute a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and/or the college policy regarding the responsible use of LAP services and violation of that policy, including improper distribution of electronic text, may result in suspension of LAP services.
11. Questions or Issues with your Alternative Media? 

Promptly inform the Alternative Media Specialist of any issues you are having with the alternative media. The Alternative Media Specialist will investigate the problem and take appropriate steps to resolve.

*Modified with permission from