Adopting ADA Course Material

Please follow the guidelines below when ordering course material

Publishers and Electronic Texts

Books begin as electronic documents; they are sent electronically to the printer.  Publishers CAN send an electronic file.  Copyright is honored as this file is documented for ADA access only.

The electronic file from the publisher is sought for students with print related disabilities including vision loss, language based learning disabilities, neurological disabilities etc.  These disabilities are documented before we request the book.

Why must we adopt texts so early?

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) mandates that colleges disclose the ISBN and retail price of all required books for every course listed in the preregistration course schedule.

ADA mandates that we offer access for disabled students at the same time we offer a service to students without disabilities. 

Processing electronic files from publishers, or the Access Text Network takes time (18-28 days Fall 2013).

We need ISBN numbers 8 weeks in advance of the term.  HEOA suggests these should be available at pre-registration the term before. 

What can you do?

When choosing your course materials check Access Text Network (ATN) to be certain the books are available as an electronic file.  If not available through ATN (many publishers are still not registered) ask your publisher if they are prepared to send the text as an electronic file (pdf unsecured). 

When a request is approved, the publisher will send the file to OSDDS who serves as the College's agent for assuring the student has a print related disability and has purchased the book. 

If the publisher refuses to send the file and suggests that we may chop and scan the book ask for a desk copy to chop as the student's book should not be destroyed/rendered unsellable.  If the publisher refuses to send a desk copy and you do not have a second choice of an accessible course text ask your Dean about purchasing the book.  

What about print materials (hard copies) that are created at HCC?

Scanning to create electronic copies

If digital /electronic materials are not readily available and you must scan to create an electronic file, please consider the following guidelines:

  • Select "clean" source materials (free of underlining, margin notes, or highlights).  
  • Always scan in black and white.   
  • Avoid materials that have been copied multiple times. It is always best to copy/scan directly from the book or journal source.
  • Be consistent with filenames to ensure they match the syllabus reference.
  • Post your materials at least two weeks before they are due in class. This allows OSDDS the time to further digitize if necessary and still provide the student time to complete the reading.
  • Email the scanned file to the student in advance of the class where this document will be used.

What is the issue?

Access to print material for students with disabilities must be readily available at the same time as their non disabled peers-real time. (ADA)

Access should not result in a penalty through delayed delivery or actions that damage a student's property (chopped texts).

Why now?

The number of students with disabilities has increased (up 11.5% since 2010-2011).  Student requests now exceed the College's ability to offer alternative texts in real time (381 requests Fall 2013). Also, and perhaps more importantly, the College has a collective responsibility to students with disabilities who now make up more than 13% of our enrolled students. Sister colleges and universities who were not preemptive are paying handsomely in damages and time devoted to settlement reporting.


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040