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Alternate Media Formats

Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) provides alternate media for students with verified disabilities for required textbooks, class handouts, tests, and other course materials in alternative formats such as taped text, large print, braille, tactile diagrams, closed captioned video, and electronic text (such as Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or text files). 

What is Taped Text?

For years, Readings for the Blind and Dyslexic, RFB&D, has been recording books and magazines onto audio cassette and distributing those tapes to people with print disabilities. Here at Cuesta College, DSPS Support Services has volunteers who read text books aloud and record them onto audio tape.

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What is Large Print?

Large print is simply an enlarged version of a page with larger text. Sometimes it is adequate to enlarge a document on a photocopy machine. Other times the document needs to be scanned, cleaned up, and printed with a larger font size, or even on larger size paper.

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What is E-Text?

Electronic text, or E-text, is any document in a computer format. This includes Microsoft Word files, ASCII text files, Adobe PDF files, E-Book files, and many more. This web page is an electronic text file.

E-text is useful for people who are vision or hearing challenged, for the dyslexic, for people with learning disabilities, and for everyone else, too.

E-text can be enlarged on the screen using screen magnification software, or it can be read by screen reading software.

As a result of California law AB422, publishers of textbooks now have an obligation to provide E-text for students with print disabilities for required course textbooks. Of course, the students still have to purchase the textbook.

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What is Braille?

Warning! "The following links will take you to sites outside the Cuesta College web server. Cuesta College has no control over the content or availability of these sites."

Braille is a form of text which uses raised bumps or dots rather than printed characters. A Braille cell is made up of 6 dots, 2 columns of 3 dots each.

If you are interested in learning Braille, there is an excellent online course at the Braille Through Remote Learning web site at, and the Hadley School for the Blind offers courses for family members of blind persons.

Braille books can be obtained through several sources, including the Library of Congress and Readings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D).

Cuesta College has the hardware and software to produce Braille text. A program called Duxbury for Windows allows the conversion of text or Microsoft Word documents into uncontracted (Grade 1) or contracted (Grade 2) Braille. The Braille documents can then be "embossed" on one of our Braille printers.

If you are an instructor, and have a visually challenged student in your class, I would be happy to work with you on producing appropriate Braille documents.

If you are a student, and you need your textbooks in braille, please visit the Alternate Media Request Page. If you need your class handouts in braille, please contact the Alternate Media Facilitator at (805) 546-3100 x2825.

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What are Tactile Graphics?

Tactile Graphics are similar to normal photocopies, with the important difference that all the dark areas of the page are embossed, or raised, so that blind or visually challenged students can feel the image.

We have software to allow the creation of images, which may then be printed to a Braille embosser to produce an image made up of dots, or printed onto special embossing paper and "raised" in a Tactile Image Enhancer. We have the Enhancers at both the San Luis Obispo and North County Campuses.

Images from any source can be photocopied onto the special embossing paper then "raised", but it is useful to simplify images before embossing. Fingers have lower resolution than eyes.

Tactile versions of the San Luis Obispo and North County Campus maps and the 3300 Building map, labeled in braille, are available at the San Luis Obispo and North County Campus DSPS Offices.

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What is Closed Captioning?

Closed Captioning is the process of adding text labels to a video tape or television program. These text labels can be seen when viewing the show on a television with a close caption decoder. Closed captioning can be turned off so you don't see the text labels. Televisions produced since 1993 have decoders built in.

Open Captioning is similar to Close Captioning, except the text labels are incorporated into the video image and cannot be turned off. The text in open captioned videos can be seen on any television or video projection system.

Cuesta College now has the equipment to open or closed caption videos.

The captioning system is based on a PC type computer. It has special video and time code input cards. The PC is connected to 2 VCRs and a variety of time code and signal cleaning hardware.

We use the CPC700 software to add the captioning to videos.

If you are an instructor, and have a hearing challenged student in your class, I would be happy to work with you. Please contact me or fill out the Closed Captioned Video Request Form.

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What is Digital Captioning?

Digital videos, such as MPEG, AVI, and MOV files can be supplemented with captioning files, to allow the display of closed captions, and the playing of supplemental audio files. This allows the finished product to be used by individuals with either hearing or vision disabilities.

Please visit the digital captioning page to see an example and to learn more. Digital Captioning is taught in a Flex Activity.

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