Text in Alternate or Enlarged Format

Alternate Format

Students with a range of disabilities including visual impairments, reading disorders, and chronic migraines, may be approved to have their course materials in an alternate format. Although AccessibleNU's Assistive Technology Assistant Director can do many of the necessary conversions, there are a number of things you can do to assist the student yourself or that will facilitate AccessibleNU's work:

  • Make course reading selections early, and be open to sharing your syllabus in advance to ensure students can have accessible materials from the beginning of your course

  • Share electronic versions (ideally, a Word, text, or tagged PDF document) of reading materials, worksheets, and other print documents with students and, when requested, AccessibleNU.

  • Low- vision students and others requiring alternate format should have the materials they need at the same time as the rest of the class.

  • If only a hard copy is available, a high-quality, clear copy converts or enlarges much better

  • Request or share an extra copy of your textbooks with AccessibleNU in case publishers are reluctant or slow to provide alternate formats

  • Show preference in your text selection for publishers who demonstrate a commitment to providing accessible texts in a variety of formats Allow extra time for alternate-format text acquisition if you add a reading to the syllabus once your course has begun

  • Work with your department's technology resources,  Student Affairs IT, or AccessibleNU to ensure the accessibility of the materials you post on Canvas or otherwise provide to students electronically

Enlarging Text

You can readily accommodate students who need large print yourself. For instance, providing the student with the electronic version allows the student to enlarge to their preferred font style and size. If you prefer to give a hard-copy handout, however, ask the student requesting large print how much enlargement is needed rather than guessing.

If a document has been created using a standard word-processing program, it can easily be enlarged before printing. Geneva or Helvetica fonts are the clearest. If legible to the student, an 18-point font is generally the best. (When the type is larger than eighteen points, fewer words appear on each page, making it difficult for a person to make sense of the document.) Bold characters also make the print clearer.

You can also by enlarge documents using a copy machine that can print on 11-by-17-inch paper. This is a useful procedure for course packets or articles in periodicals or books.