Alternate Media Services

Rose Desmond Phone: 925-969-2174

Alternate media material is defined as instructional materials, textbooks, college publications, and/or library materials in formats accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. The determination of the most suitable format of support should be made by DSS credentialed staff.

Braille and tactile graphics

Braille is a system of reading and writing for blind individuals.... Tactile Graphics allows diagrams printed on special heat-sensitive paper to be heated in a specialized device to produce raised lines and images. Many Braille embossers can, using specialized software, produce some simple tactile graphics." [California Community Colleges Alternate Media Guidelines, 2000]

Print enlarging

Relatively few textbooks are available in large print and those that are tend to be expensive. One alternative to hard copy large print is the use of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system which permits magnification of the page being viewed.... use of a CCTV may not be appropriate for accessing reference works or for handling some types of in-class assignments."
DVC currently has Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV's) for student use. 

Electronic Text (E-Text)

Electronic text is a version of textbooks and course materials available from a computer text file. Individuals who are partially sighted can use E-text by taking advantage of built-in options within many standard software applications (e.g., adjusting font size) or through the use of specialized screen magnification software (i.e., ZoomText). E-text can also be used with screen reading software (i.e., Kurzweil) to output the text to a speech synthesizer or refreshable Braille display. The main advantage of E-text is that it can be easily stored, can be searched and indexed, and can be converted to large print or hard copy Braille through use of a translation program.

Textbooks can also be obtained in audio format from the Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). by Individual member ship.

E-texts is to be used solely by the eligible student's own educational purposes and will not be copied or duplicated for use by others.


 Students must be registered in the course for which they are requesting alternate media.

  • the conversion of textbooks and handouts to electronic textbooks (e-text) by DSS,
  • the conversion of test and course materials into e-text by DSS.

Under the provisions of the Cooperative Agreement between the Department of Rehabilitation and the state Chancellor's Office, students who are legally blind and clients of the Department of Rehabilitation will receive audio books and Braille textbook services through DOR. All other course handouts and/or materials will be converted into accessible formats by DSS.

DSS has a limited number of tape recorders, Alpha-smart keyboards which may be checked out through the DSS Office (SSC upper floor).

Failure to comply with these terms may result in termination of this service.


When textbooks or course materials are required by students before they are available in alternate formats, students will be directed to the High Tech Center and Library Quiet Room to use a reading software (Kurzweil) that scans and reads printed material.

Alternative technology

Students may also use a variety of associative technology software and hardware in the High Tech Center to meet their immediate needs to convert textbooks, handouts and other course materials into their preferred format. Among the choices, students may use an advanced easy-to-use scan and read system (Kurzweil) that converts text into an on-screen visual presentation of the scanned text and images, and then reads the words aloud in clear, natural-sounding synthetic speech. In addition, this speech can be audio taped as it is being read. This program has additional benefits as a compensatory aid to improve reading speed and comprehension.

Kurzweil software is available for student use.  You must have a user name a password to use this software.  See the DSS Office for this service 

Kurzweil 3000 downloads

Locations are listed below:

Student services center
High Tech Center (SSC 250 upper floor)
DSS Main Office (SSC 248 upper floor)
Transfer Center (SSC 202 upper floor)


San Ramon Campus

CCTV's are also available to be transported to classrooms upon request.