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Portland State University Copyright Guide: Reasonable Academic Accommodations

Conversion of Copyrighted Materials

Reasonable academic accommodations are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under these laws, the university has an obligation to ensure that all course materials are accessible to students with disabilities. This may involve alternative access to lectures, textbooks and course websites, PowerPoint slides, print and electronic handouts, assignments and readings, audio and visual content, external websites, etc.

This means that copyrighted material being used in an academic course may be lawfully appropriated and converted into an accessible format for a student with a disability (audio-recorded lectures; PowerPoints with alternative text for images; readings with added structure and formatting cues for navigation; readings with detailed descriptions of images, graphs, etc.; videos with captioning; audio recordings with transcripts, etc.) by agents of the University.

Please note: Students receiving accessible, electronic copies of textbooks, course packets, and any supplemental course materials through the DRC are informed in writing that they are “not permitted to share, distribute, or copy the materials or to otherwise violate federal copyright law. Any such violation would also constitute a breach of the PSU Student Code of Conduct.” This contract is signed electronically at the beginning of every academic term. Students accessing media that has been altered to feature captioning will view these materials via a secure, private channel in mediaspace. Access to the captioned copy will be removed at the conclusion of the academic term.

If a student requests or expresses the need for accessible course materials, please recommend that they contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at their earliest possible convenience. Please refer any questions regarding accommodations for students with disabilities to the DRC.

Proactive Provision of Accessible Materials

The Office of Academic Innovation (OAI) can assist faculty with proactive, accessible design in order to eliminate the need for conversion to an accessible format. OAI’s Faculty Support web page details the assistive services they provide, including Accessibility Consultations. Resources and guidance for faculty and staff interested in creating accessible online and electronic course materials can be found on PSU’s Accessibility website.

Millar Library subject librarians can provide guidance in identifying accessible materials. Millar Library’s Library Services for Faculty web page details the services available to instructors; this includes access to Open Educational Resources (OERs), which are often some of the most accessible textbook options available. Finding accessible media that is accurately captioned can be difficult; several methods are suggested on the DRC’s Interpreting and Captioning webpage.