Handouts, Overheads, and PowerPoints in Alternative Media

Students who use this accommodation are most likely provided books in alternative formats by Disability Access because of a print impairment. Not only do they need to access their books, they need to access all class materials. Disabilities that usually cause a person to have trouble accessing print include reading disorders and vision impairments. Every student's need is different; some students can read short handouts, but need longer ones in an alternative format. Please discuss with the student what kinds of materials they will need, and in what manner (emailed, printed larger, etc.).

In order to provide equal and effective access, students with this accommodation must receive class materials at the same time as other students. It is not acceptable for a student to be given an inaccessible version of a handout in class which they then have to bring to Disability Access for conversion to electronic format. In this scenario, the student would actually have access to the material two or three days later then their peers. The handout should be converted into the format needed before class and given to the student when everyone else receives the material.

If large print is needed, please note the font size on the Accommodation Letter, and print a copy for the student. Please keep in mind that you will need to check the formatting, as it often comes out wrong as a result of the enlargement process.

PowerPoints can often be e-mailed to the student or posted on Blackboard for access. If you know your student has a visual impairment, please describe PowerPoints and overheads in class.

Disability Access is willing to convert and distribute materials for students. Please send to the Disability Access office at disability@gonzaga.edu at least 48 hours before the class meeting. Include the name of the student and when they need the materials by.

Some tips on creating easily convertible material (as well as material that is universally easier to read):

  • Avoid using too much spacing and tabbing for formatting, it gets really messed up when enlarged
  • A table would be better than the above for complicated formatting
  • Make most of your handouts in Arial font, with a font size of 12 pt.
  • Leave plenty of white space
  • Post your material on Blackboard
  • Beware of PDFs, they are often only an image or graphic, not text, and cannot be manipulated by the student, either to enlarge, or to use with screen-reading software.