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H810: Week 8: Activity 17.1

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H810: Week 8: Activity 17.1

Alternatives for textbooks

1.   Electronic copies from the publisher

a.   Positives

i.    The reader knows that they have the correct information included as they come directly from the publisher.

ii.    Some publishers provide these free of charge for visually impaired students

iii.    Student can adjust format, size and colour to their own requirements

b.   Negatives

i.    Can be very time consuming to obtain

ii.    Can be expensive

iii.    Student and university often have to sign copyright agreements which take time and organisation

iv.    Images/graphs do not have alt text

v.    Formulae often supplied as image

vi.    Often supplied as pdf documents which many screen readers cannot read so have to be converted to word documents

vii.    Sometimes supplied as full text with no chapters or page numbers so impossible to navigate

c.   Technical Resources
Should be fine as all books are stored in electronic format but may well need programs to convert from pdf to word documents

d.   Human Resources
Needs expertise and knowledge of the legal situation to deal with the publishers
Needs expertise to convert documents
May need to add text to images/graphs

2.   Scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

a.   Positives

i.    Can be obtained quickly if staff available; in some cases the student can do it themselves but this is difficult if the student is visually impaired

ii.    Can be used for older texts not available in electronic format

iii.    Only the section of book required is scanned so less information for student to store and more easily searchable

iv.    Student can request special requirements as to naming of files, text etc.

v.    Student can adjust format, size and colour to their own requirements

b.   Negatives

i.    Pages of book must be clean, no marks and not on very white paper or reflection prevents OCR

ii.    Font must be clear

iii.    Printing must not be too close to spine or book has to be pulled apart and rebound

iv.    Book must be exactly placed on scanner for OCR to be accurate

v.    Images and graphs cannot be scanned

vi.    Formulae often not recognised and must be typed

vii.    Checking and adjusting type can be VERY time consuming and thus expensive for the student as needs to pay at support rate

c.   Technical Resources
Good quality scanner and excellent OCR program required

d.   Human Resources
Boring and time consuming job that requires someone who understands the subject of the book they are scanning so that they can correct it.

3.   Typing

a.   Positives

i.    Fast for smaller sections

ii.    Can be personalised for the student's requirements

iii.    Can be used for books unsuitable for scanning and older texts not available in electronic format

iv.    Trained typists can provide alt text for images/graphs

b.   Negatives

i.    Time consuming and so expensive for the student although pays at typist rate not support rate. If alt text needed then pays at higher rate

ii.    Difficult to do quickly for rush jobs

c.   Technical Resources
Book stand to make it easier for typist and computer/laptop

d.   Human Resources
Trained typist with additional skills to understand the material typed and also how to provide alt text if necessary

4.   Audio

a.   Positives

i.    Can be read by person with little training or even friend of the student

b.   Negatives

i.    Voice quality is important; must be clear and pleasant for student to listen to

ii.    Can be difficult to reference material

iii.    Can be difficult to find position in recording to listen again

c.   Technical Resources
May need a range of resources depending on the student's requirements - most are SD discs for computer now but some students prefer audio CD or cassettes

d.   Human Resources
Requires a clear voice and it is time consuming. No special expertise required although knowledge of the subject can be useful for the pronunciation of technical terms.

5.   Braille/Moon

a.   Positives

i.    Can be fast to read by practised student

ii.    Great for presentations as student can read notes from text whilst presenting

b.   Negatives

i.    Bulky to store for the student

ii.    Needs training to produce and check

iii.    With basic equipment the text will need to be prepared in special formats before printing

c.   Technological Resources

i.    Braille/Moon printer

ii.    Electronic version of document required

d.   Human Resources

i.    Trained operator for printer

ii.    Trained person to check Braille/Moon is correct

6.   Daisy Books

I know of the existence of these and that they are much easier to search in a non-linear fashion but I have never seen or used them so perhaps someone else can help here I do know that they are great for maths and science formulae!


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