The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
Neil Jhurani, Sports Writer • May 23, 2024

A warm, summer evening bestowed Hoover, Alabama on Wednesday night when the No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies faced the No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M takes step toward making textbooks more accessible

Textbooks
Creative Commons
Textbooks

Aggies that struggle with standard textbooks will get the resources they need to succeed.
Texas A&M will join several universities to develop a shared system of their individual catalogues of accessible textbooks so that the colleges can give disabled students a wider variety of high-quality readings. The shared grant was awarded to A&M in March by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and established a project for a federated accessible textbook repository. The grant will fund the project for two years and includes several groups that will be working on research, the projects website infrastructure and  best practices of producing quality textbooks. The process is still in its beginning stages of development as the universities begin to share their current collection of accessible textbooks.
Assistive technology coordinator in Disability Services Justin Romack is spearheading the project at A&M and said that the amount of students that need accessible textbooks has shown that there is a problem with providing students with an equitable education.
“Every semester, we get about 350 to 500 requests from students with disabilities for textbooks that aren’t accessible,” Romack said. “If the student has dyslexia or a visual disability and reading a standard print textbook is difficult, it’s challenging; it poses an access issue.”
According to Romack, the process of translating a print textbook into a text-to-speech format is time-consuming, and there is a chance that others have done the work before.
“We have a process where we take print text and find a digital version of that text or create our own digital version of that text that students can then use reading software to have that textbook read out loud,” Romack said. “If you think about it in a micro level, that’s a lot of work here, but then expand that to institutions across the entire country and the world; we’re all doing a lot of work to make sure textbooks are accessible to students. The problem is we’re all probably doing the same work because there is no system that tracks what has been made accessible.”
Psychology junior Tiffany Reck serves as the team lead under Romack and said that this grant is a step toward streamlining the process and getting students the textbooks they need.
“I think [the grant] will be a great way to get recognition out there for the need for this kind of technology as well as expanding our network to be able to get accessible copies,” Reck said.  “It’s pretty expensive and time-consuming to take that book from print; to buy it from the book then to cut and scan it and take it through all those processes. So with this database, we’ll have much more accessibility for textbooks for students. It’ll be less of a time constraint on students getting their textbooks. If we’ve got that database and all those books in one central place, you get books to students quicker.”
According to Romack, sharing resources across universities will diversify their library of books and allow them to focus on creating more high-quality textbooks for students with disabilities.
 “We’re doing a lot of work, and it’s likely that we’re duplicating work across the country, and it just doesn’t have to be that complicated,” Romack said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *