Academic Alternative Format

Alternative Formats are a form of effective communication and may include audio files (mp3), e-books, DAISY, braille, accessible PDFs, electronic or large print versions of standard print or digital materials.

Students who wish to explore accommodations for alternative formats should be in touch with their Local Student Disability Coordinator to work through their School’s reasonable accommodation process.

Alternative format tools and software available at the University through partnership between UDR, the Assistive Technology Center, and Local Disability Coordinators include, but are not limited to:

Kurzweil 1000

Kurzweil 1000 is a text to speech software that makes printed or electronic text readily available to people who are blind or visually impaired. The software speaks text aloud in a variety of natural-sounding voices that can be modified to suit individual preferences. In addition, it provides users with document creation and editing as well as study skills capabilities for note taking, summarizing and outlining text.

Kurzweil 3000 + firefly

Kurzweil 3000 + firefly is a software package which provides educational support for individuals with print disabilities offering a range of functionality including text to speech, graphic organizer, highlighters, sticky notes, and direct access to Bookshare and other online content providers for students who have print disabilities and are registered with their Local Disability Coordinator.

Kurzweil 3000 + firefly also reads digital text aloud on the internet, provides text to speech in seven languages, and translates to any Google supported languages. It can provide a talking spell checker, writing templates, and vocabulary study guides.

JAWS and Screen Readers

JAWS is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that functions to allow users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a refreshable Braille display.

Sensus Access Document Conversion

SensusAccess is a service which automates the conversion of documents into a range of accessible formats, including Braille, mp3, Daisy, and e-book for individuals who have visual or reading impairments and are registered with their Local Disability Coordinator. SensusAccess can also be used to convert otherwise inaccessible documents such as image-only pdf files or scanned images into accessible formats. It can be used independently anywhere with internet access via the password-protected website.

University Disability Resources at Harvard University makes the SensusAccess service available to Harvard students who have a documented need for accessible format materials and who have been approved by a Local Disability Coordinator at an eligible Harvard institution. Accessible format materials obtained through SensusAccess may only be used for academic purposes by the student receiving the accommodation. Any further copying, sharing, reproduction or distribution of accessible format materials is strictly prohibited.

Prior to using SensusAccess, it is encouraged that you inquire with the publisher of the text you wish to convert to determine if the publisher can provide you with accessible format materials. Publishers may be willing to provide you with accessible format materials, provided that you have already purchased the textbook in traditional text format.

E-learning Course: Learn more about SensusAccess - this course is available students, staff, faculty and others who are converting material into alternate formats such as audio books, e-books, digital large-print and Braille, either for themselves or on behalf of others. The course also covers how SensusAccess can be used to improve the accessibility of documents and to make documents easier to work with. A separate module explains how to create documents that comply with the accessibility requirements. View the Course

 SensusAccess is hosted by University Disability Resources and may be accessed via internet browser on a range of devices with internet access. Direct Link: › Go to SensusAccess

Assistive Technology Center

Phone: 617-496-8800

Website: Assistive Technology Center