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Alternative Media

Alternative Media refers to the conversion of printed course materials to alternative accessible formats such as Braille, large print, or electronic text files for students with print-related disabilities. Alternative media is an accommodation approved on an individual basis through the interactive process between the student and the Associate Director or Director of CDHP and includes a review of the student’s documentation from a qualified healthcare provider.

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Capti Higher Ed and Speechify

CDHP currently offers two alternative media software programs—Capti Higher Ed and Speechify. Each program offers unique features. To learn more about the software programs watch our brief videos by clicking on the links below.

For students enrolled in CDHP who have alternative media as an approved accommodation, CDHP will provide services for required and recommended course reading assignments including course textbooks, readers, handouts, and materials posted to the learning management system (LMS).

The following guidelines are designed to assist students with requesting their materials.

  • Requesting Alternative Media Each Term

    Submit your alternative media requests as early as possible by completing and submitting an Alternative Media Request Form via email to CDHP will send you an email acknowledging receipt and provide an estimated completion date. Please ensure that you include all the required information, or your production may be delayed until CDHP receives it.

    Keep in mind that WesternU has many of your required textbooks already available for download and in digital format either through the Harriet K. and Philip Pumerantz Library or through a paid subscription that you purchase through a link your instructor provides. The Alternative Media Request Form should be used for books that are not available in digital format or if the eBook version (i.e., Kindle) is not compatible with your screen reader software.

  • Notifying CDHP when You Do Not Have Your Materials

    Email CDHP with the subject line “Alt Media Notice” if it is six weeks (or less) before the start of the class and indicate the reason you have not submitted materials to CDHP for processing:

    • The course instructor has not yet announced course textbooks/reader.
    • The book is out of stock.
    • You arranged for the book to be sent directly to CDHP by the Campus Store, a bookstore or vendor (e.g., Amazon).
    • You have identified a source to obtain materials in an electronic format.

    If you do not email CDHP in a timely manner, the Center may not be able to provide that course’s materials within the standard production timeframes.

  • Receiving Your Completed Materials

    When materials are completed, they will be uploaded and shared to the student’s playlist (Capti Higher Ed) or uploaded and shared through a Google Shared Drive (Speechify, etc.). Students will be notified via email that they have been uploaded. Students receiving Braille will be emailed their materials are ready and may schedule to pick them up from CDHP during normal business hours.

    Books that are listed as rentals, this includes subscriptions, are only available for the duration of the rental/subscription period.

    For materials that are provided through Canvas by the instructor, students can access them directly by logging into their Capti or Speechify accounts and selecting the add option for the Canvas choice. Students needing a refresher course on the features of their approved software should contact the Alternative Media Consultant via email at

    Please note that books on Adobe Shelf or Red Shelf cannot be downloaded and uploaded into the software CDHP provides; however, they possess read aloud and marking features similar to CDHP’s approved software.

  • Encountering Challenges

    Promptly email CDHP at about any problems with the alternative media you receive. CDHP will investigate the reported problem and take appropriate action to resolve it.

  • Student Responsibilities

    Any alternative media materials provided to you by CDHP may not be copied or distributed in any manner that violates copyright law. For example, if you sell the original hard copy version of a copyright protected text, you must promptly return the converted alternative media version to CDHP or delete your electronic version. You may not share or give another student your alternative media. Students who receive copyrighted alternative media through CDHP are required to sign an Alternative Media Copyright Agreement. Students approved for alternative media as an accommodation should review CDHP’s Alternative Media Policy and Procedures.

  • Self-help Options

    There are several “self-help” options available for obtaining reading materials in various digital formats. You may contact CDHP at if you need assistance using any of these self-help options. Using self-help options does not preclude you from obtaining assistance from CDHP with the electronic copy you self-scanned or self-converted.

    Self-Search: there are many databases/inventories of electronic books/materials (some in an accessible format, others not). You may be able to locate an existing electronic copy of the book you need by yourself—many electronic books are available for free [e.g., BookShare(link is external), Project Gutenberg(link is external), and LibriVox(link is external) (for titles in the public domain)] or for a nominal fee [e.g., Learning Ally(link is external)] Before submitting an alternative media request for a book, you are encouraged to first check these primary e-book databases for availability of an existing electronic copy. If the electronic copy you locate via these databases requires additional editing, or conversion to hard copy Braille or large print, CDHP will do such further editing or conversion provided a) it is a required or recommended course reading, b) an Alternative Media Request form is submitted, and c) the electronic document is not technically “locked” so as to preclude further editing or conversion (in which case you may have to provide a different version, e.g., hard copy, of the book/material to CDHP).

  • Self-Conversion

    Students approved for Capti or Speechify can convert any digital materials provided by their instructors simply by uploading the file either in PDF or Word Doc format. The text recognition automatically applies to the document, and it is ready to read once it finishes processing. For students using Capti and Speechify, they can access their electronic documents directly through Canvas by logging into their respective accounts and using the add through Canvas feature. For materials that are available only in hard copy, students will need to submit those materials to CDHP for conversion to an electronic format, large print, or Braille format

  • Questions or Suggestions

    CDHP strives to continuously identify ways to improve services to students with print disabilities. Should you have questions or suggestions, please contact CDHP.