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Accessible Textbook Provision in the California State University System Presentation at the Seminar on Accessible Books for Readers with Print Disabilities July 28, 2006 The Context of California Three systems of public higher education California Community Colleges (109 campuses)

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Accessible Textbook Provision in the California State University System

Presentation at the Seminar on Accessible Books for Readers with Print Disabilities

July 28, 2006

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The Context of California University System

  • Three systems of public higher education

    • California Community Colleges (109 campuses)

      over 1.5 million students

      -- California State University (23 campuses)

      over 405,000 students

      -- University of California (9 campuses)

      over 209,000 students

      Total over 2.1 million students in public higher education


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California State University Statistics University System

  • Over 405,000 student population

  • Over 10,000 students with disabilities (2.5%)

  • About 5,000* students potentially eligible for alternate formats (1.2%)

  • About 1,000 are actually using e-text (.2%)

    *Visually impaired, Learning Disability, percentage of physical disability

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State Laws University System

  • AB 422 (California E-Text Law) requires publishers to send an electronic file of textbook for a student with a print disability when certain conditions are met

  • California Education Code 11135 (applies Section 508 to state agencies): has implications for the purchase of digital content

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The Context of Civil Rights Laws University System

  • Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

    • Obligation of the higher education institution to provide access to its programs and services to students with disabilities (Section 504, the ADA)

    • Not just mere access but effective access

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Effectiveness of Communication Defined University System

  • timeliness of delivery

  • accuracy of the translation

  • provision in a manner and medium appropriate to the significance of the message and the abilities of the individual with the disability

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The California State University Solution: Intersystem collaboration

  • CSU Center for Alternate Media (CAM)

    • Virtual clearinghouse set up in 2004 under AB 422 (California’s E-Text Law)

  • Reduce redundancy by enabling sharing

  • Increase timeliness

  • Training and best practices

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Procedures collaboration

  • Eligibility for accommodation certified

  • Book purchase/ownership

  • Enrollment in course

  • Required textbook

  • Student receives orientation to the appropriate use of this accommodation

  • Student signs usage agreement

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Scanning Practice collaboration

  • Publisher file is requested

  • Scan only if cannot meet the timeliness element

    • Request to publisher has not been fulfilled

    • Publisher file received is not usable due to poor file quality

  • Currently several campuses do request permission to scan

  • CAM working on a way to notify publishers when file has been shared with another eligible student with a print disability who has purchased the book

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Number of Students Requesting E-Text ( collaborationbased on 10 CSU campuses)

2004-05=539 2005-06=727

% increase from 2004-2005 to 2005-06 = 35%

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Number of E-Text Distributed by 11 campuses collaboration

2004-05=2191 2005-06=2994

increase from 2004-05 to 2005-06 = 37%

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Publisher Titles Requested and Received for 9 campuses collaboration(July 1, 2005-June 30, 2006)

  • 441 Received

  • 1063 Requested

  • 41% fulfillment rate

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Publisher File Issues collaboration

  • Incomplete content

  • One huge file (no breakouts into chapters)

  • Content not in order

  • No page numbers

  • Can’t access due to DRM

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Format preferences from the field: collaboration

  • CSU campuses would want a format that is easily transformable such as XML (with DTD) or better yet DAISY

  • In the absence of the above, and for the time being, campuses that do secondary conversions would prefer text-based PDF as an authoritative source file; RTF files are also acceptable

  • If the publisher cannot offer the e-text, then make available a desk copy

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What’s the Big Deal? collaboration

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Timeliness of Instructional Materials collaboration

Office for Civil Rights Cases Against Four CSUs (2004 to the present)

  • CSU Fullerton

  • CSU Los Angeles

  • CSU San Bernardino

  • CSU Channel Island

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Timeliness (or lack thereof) collaboration

  • Student registers during advance registration and turns in request

    (student does not register during advance registration or courses are added and dropped)

  • Disability Services (DS) staff researches for textbook titles based upon course registration (no textbook is identified for the course)

  • DS staff attempts to contact instructor to find out textbook title (can’t reach instructor or don’t know who is assigned to teach the course)

  • 1st day of term: student buys book and brings in to DS office (usually doesn’t happen on the first day)

  • 1st and 2nd week of term: DS office checks repositories for available alternate format (not available in any repository)

  • Order e-text from publisher (publisher takes 2 to 6 weeks to respond)

  • 4th week of term: DS office receives file from publisher (file needs editing)

  • 5th week of term: e-text file is cleaned up and alternate format of textbook is finally ready for student

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Joint Responsibility to Ensure Timely & Accurate Alternate Formats of Instructional Materials

  • Student

  • Institution

  • Publisher

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How Publishers Can Help Formats of Instructional Materials

  • Provide files that are

    • complete with all the elements (i.e. with page numbers and text broken into chapters)

    • organized (i.e. part of one chapter is not in another chapter)

    • accurate (i.e. junk characters taken out)

    • accessible (give password if there is DRM)

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Collaborating Toward Solutions Formats of Instructional Materials

  • A common web interface to request files

  • One place to look up available alternate formats

  • Get rid of redundancy: create the file once

  • Can publishers put language in contract with authors/copyright holders to permit the publisher to provide an electronic copy for use by a student with a print disability?

  • Need tools and workflow for math and science instructional materials conversion

  • Need to provide access to non-textual instructional materials: CDs, multimedia, videos

  • K-12 solutions will assist

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Contact Information Formats of Instructional Materials

  • Mary Cheng, Director, Accessible Technology Initiative, California State University

    and member of the AHEAD E-Text Solutions Group

    [email protected] or

    [email protected]

    (510) 885-2844