[Athen] Alternate format books questions

Russell Solowoniuk SolowoniukR at macewan.ca
Thu Jan 28 10:19:14 PST 2016

Hi Nazely,

See my responses below...


Russell Solowoniuk
AT Educational Assistant, Services to Students with Disabilities
MacEwan University
7-198 D4, 10700-104 Ave.
Edmonton, AB T5J 4S2
E: solowoniukr at macewan.ca
T: 780-497-5826
F: 780-497-4018
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>>> Nazely Kurkjian <kurkjian at binghamton.edu> 1/28/2016 9:58 AM >>>

Hello everyone - I hope the beginning of your semesters are going smoothly.
I have a few questions that hopefully you can help me with:

1) Bizarre situation only with UK publishers - I ask for an alternate
format text file (PDF) of a title from their company and they always assume
the student is blind even though I only said it's for a student with a
print-related disability. Then I get a E-File Statement/Contract Agreement
back that says I need to provide the name the student, then specifies "only
the visually impaired person will use this file...". I am not very familiar
with contract law, and I don't want to lie - what do I do? I know we can't
give their name but if I don't give a name, what if the publisher refuses
to give me the file? I'm trying to figure this out before I return the
e-file agreement form. Does the UK have different accessibility laws for
providing persons with non-visual print-related disabilities alternate
formats? Perhaps this was just coincidental.

We've found most publishers to be quite resonable. If you explain, that for reasons of privacy, you would prefer not to give the student's name, I think they might be okay with that. As for the term, "visually impaired person", this is probably a generic term the publisher uses. You might indicate that the student in question has a print disability, but isn't visually impaired. Sometimes it's a matter of educating people who don't really understand the situation.

2) Now more than ever our students are renting textbooks. Am I correct in
that: if a student rents a book I cannot ask them to purchase a used book
(in order to chop and scan), therefore our office must purchase the book
and chop and scan our purchased copy. I've purchased more books this
semester to cut up than ever!

I can't comment on this as our students don't typically rent their textbooks, however, sometimes when we contact publishers for files, and they don't have files, they will send us a complimentary hard copy to scan. You might ask if they'd be willing to do this in cases where students rent their texts?

3) Is anyone using Google Drive to send alt format books? We have Google
Apps for Education so we have unlimited storage space. I've been
experimenting with it. I fix the settings so the student I share it with
cannot share the folder with anyone else and include a copyright agreement
reminder in the folder.

We use WeTransfer to send files to students. It works well. http://www.wetransfer.com.

4) Turnaround time - What is your turn around time from when a student
submits a request to when they receive it (e.g., all requests will be made
available within 7 business days)? Do you post this information on your

When our students fill in the online request form to request alternate formats of their texts,, when they submit the form, it automatically populates our alt format database, and the student is sent an email stating that it may take up to two weeks to receive files, and, if they haven't received files in that time, to contact us.

Hope this helps.

Thank you!!!


*Nazely Kurkjian*
*"Shame on us... If we let the wonders of educational technology and
broadband internet lead to more inequality as opposed to less"*

Adaptive Technology Specialist
Services for Students with Disabilities - UU 119
Binghamton University
Phone: 607-777-2686
Email: kurkjian at binghamton.edu

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