Updated 1 January 2014

What is the process to get my books in an alternate format from CSU?

Textbooks are converted on a first come, first served basis by Resources for Disabled Students (RDS). Please request accommodations as early as possible.  Remember that you can start this process before the semester even starts!

Follow these steps to obtain your books in an alternative format:

  1. Meet with a counselor RDS to get an accommodation for alternative format text and referral to the ATRC.
  2. Meet with a service provider at the ATRC to determine the best format to convert your textbooks.  The ATRC can show you a number of software programs for reading that match your individual needs.
  3. Meet with RDS’ Alternative Text Coordinator, Nico Gowdy, and provide him an Alternative Text Request Form (PDF) to request your textbooks.  Please call 970.491.5906 for an appointment.  Bring your textbooks to your appointment.  Due to copyright law, RDS cannot provide an electronic file of your textbook to you unless you provide proof that you have purchased the textbook.  You need only to purchase the hard copy textbook; there is no additional cost to you for the electronic file of the textbook provided by RDS.  
    • New to this process?  When you meet with the ATRC to select a file format, the ATRC can help you fill out the Alternative Text Request form and submit it to RDS.
    • Where do I find the information needed on the Alternative Text Request Form?  You can obtain a list of textbooks from your professor or syllabus.  Alternatively, the CSU Bookstore provides a list of textbooks required for each class that includes all the information required on the Alternative Text Request Form, including the ISBN.
  4. RDS will contact you through your CSU RAMS Gmail account when your books have been converted into an alternative format. Once you receive an email from RDS, you will be able to download your books using CSU Google Drive. A Quickstart Guide is available to walk you through downloading texts from Google Drive.
  5. The conversion process typically takes about two to three weeks from the date of your meeting with Nico Gowdy at RDS.  However, the length of time depends on the file format requested and the availability of your textbooks. 
  6. If necessary, meet with the ATRC again for training on how to read your alternative format textbooks using the AT software you selected.

If you've met with RDS and ATRC in previous semesters, know the file format you need as well as how to use the AT to read your books, you can skip directly to step #3 and request your books directly with Nico at RDS. 

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I really like the Daisy file format for my books.  How can I get books in a Daisy file format?  How can I get an individual membership to Learning Ally or Bookshare?

CSU obtains textbooks in a Daisy file format primarily from two resources: Learning Ally [formerly known as Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D)] and Bookshare.  Many college textbooks are available on one of these sites.  However, there are some textbooks that aren't available.  In these cases, work with ATRC to select a different alternative format for your texts.

Although both Learning Ally and Bookshare provide Daisy file formats that are easy to navigate, there are some important differences between books obtained from these sources.

Learning Ally:

  • File is audio only.  There is no written text.  If you prefer to visually read text as you hear it being read aloud, you can follow along in a hard copy textbook or consider another source for alternative text.
  • Human voice


  • Audio file with text.  Text can be displayed on your computer screen as it is read aloud.
  • Computer synthesized voice.  There are a number of different voices available depending on the AT you select.

If you want textbooks in Daisy file format, your options are:

  1. Obtain the textbooks through CSU’s account with Learning Ally and Bookshare.  Follow the procedures for obtaining text in an alternative format.  The cost to you is the purchase of the hard copy book.
  2. Obtain the textbook directly from Learning Ally or Bookshare by getting a membership.  Membership to Learning Ally has an annual fee and Bookshare is free.  Under U.S. Copyright law, both organizations require documentation of a “qualifying print disability”.  Note that U.S. Copyright law is unfortunately narrow in scope and that all people who could benefit from alternative text may not be eligible for a membership to these organizations.  Remember that CSU can provide your alternative text in many formats if you do not qualify for an individual membership to these organizations.
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How do I report AT that is not working properly?

For AT computers in Morgan Library:

For AT computers on Campus other than Morgan Library:

  • Submit a detailed description of the problem you are encountering and which computer you are using on our electronic ticketing system
  • Alternatively, you may call the ATRC directly to report the problem.

For an AT device loaned from the ATRC:

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There is no paper in the printers at Morgan Library AT rooms. What do I do?

Contact the Library Helpdesk, which is located on the first floor between the entrance to the library and the computer labs.  Map of the first floor of Morgan Library.  White paper and a variety of pastel colored paper are available.

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I am interested in purchasing AT. What services does the ATRC provide?

The ATRC can help you identify AT that matches your individual needs related to an academic task.  The ATRC has some equipment available for loan and has AT software installed on a number of computers throughout campus available for use by students registered with the ATRC. Talk with the ATRC if you need AT installed in your classroom, office, lab, or departmental computer lab.

If you would like to purchase your own AT, the ATRC will provide you the name of the manufacturer of the AT.  The ATRC does not sell AT nor recommend certain vendors.  On campus, some AT is sold at RamTech.  However, you are encouraged to shop for the best deal. 

The ATRC does not provide funding to individuals for the purchase of AT.  However, if you are applying to another program for funding to purchase AT, your ATRC service provider can provide documentation, if necessary. 

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Can I use AT when I take tests at RDS?

If you would like AT during testing at RDS, please talk with your ATRC Service Provider.  Please request this accommodation as soon as possible to allow time for approval by RDS. Several computers are available with the same AT configuration as the library computers.

Eligibility to use AT during testing will be evaluated by RDS.  Once approved, you are responsible for indicating the AT needed for testing when you submit your Exam Request Form to RDS.  

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I think I have Irlen Syndrome a.k.a. Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.  How can I know for sure?

To determine if your symptoms may be indicative of Irlen Syndrome, take this Irlen Screening Self-Test (Word Doc).  If your results indicate that Irlen Syndrome may be affecting you, please contact the CSU Health Network Counseling Services for Irlen Screening.

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I’m graduating.  What are my rights and responsibilities as I transition to the workplace?

Congratulations!  Please read through our transition to the workplace information (Word Doc) and schedule an appointment with your AT Service Provider to discuss questions you have.

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What other resources are available on campus for students with disabilities?

CSU offers several resources on campus to support students with disabilities.  Please refer to our Campus Resources for Students with Disabilites (Word Doc) for more information.  For a list of resources helpful for students working with the ATRC, please see our Student Resources page.

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I have a tablet (iPad or Android) or Smartphone.  What type of apps can I use to help me with school?

Tell your ATRC service provider what type of device you have and he/she will work with you to help identify apps to support a variety of school related tasks. The ATRC has iPads and Android tablets available to show you apps to help you make your selection.  We do not have any tablets or smartphones available for loan.

To get an idea of the type of apps available to support academics, please review our Apps Quick Start Guide.  Please note that new apps are frequently developed and your ATRC service provider may know of additional apps that are useful to you that are not included in our most recent quick start guide.

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I would prefer to use my own device (laptop, eBook reader, or tablet) rather than a computer lab on campus.  Are there AT options for me to use on the device I already own?

Tell your ATRC service provider what type of device you have and he/she will work with you to help identify assistive technology that is compatible with your device.  Some of our site license software is available to install on students' devices, and some free options exist. Your ATRC service provider can also show you how to use features that are built into your current device to help you with academic related tasks. 

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I have a Livescribe smartpen.  How can I take notes on a PowerPoint presentation?

Many students report liking to print off PowerPoint presentation slides and write notes on these print outs.  However, the Livescirbe smartpen requires special paper for the pen features to work properly.  Please see the Livescribe Educational Blog for instructions on how to use your Livescribe smartpen with your PowerPoint notes.  Although each of these methods works using the paper and pen, notes transferred to your computer will not contain images of your PowerPoint slides.  Therefore we recommend keeping any PowerPoint slide notes on your pen memory, instead of downloading them to your computer.  If you want to store an entire semester's worth of notes on your Livescribe smartpen, you may need a pen with a larger memory.  See Livescribe's website for how many hours of audio can be stored on pens.

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I have a Livescribe smartpen.  Can I print the dot paper in the AT rooms on campus?

To print Livescribe dot paper, the printer must meet certain specifications.  Unfortunately, the printers in the AT rooms on campus do not have this capability and you cannot print dot paper from these printers.  However, if you would like to print from your home computer, please see Livescribe's instructions for printing dot paper.

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