Digital Course Materials

Options for obtaining electronic textbooks and course materials

Student Disability Resources engages in an interactive process with each student and reviews requests for accommodations on an individualized, case-by-case basis. Students must provide appropriate documentation that supports the use of any accommodation.

Digital course materials provide students access to print material through different methods (e.g., electronic files, large print files, audio) to ensure equal access to educational materials.

Read & Write is the most common text-to-speech program with many accessibility tools used by students at Penn State along with Equatio for handling math equations.

Note: Student Disability Resources only provides digital course materials for textbooks and course materials that are required for the course. Leisure readings will not be provided by SDR in electronic formats.


Students approved for the Digital Course Materials accommodation have access to the following services:

  • Online, self-service libraries of electronic versions of books and other printed materials.
  • Ability to request electronic versions of books from SDR in conjunction with a course at no additional cost.
  • The ability to request assistance accessing electronic materials provided by professors or the Penn State University Libraries.

Due to copyright law, the student must show proof that they have purchased or rented the textbook before the digital format can be provided.

Accommodation usage

Students approved to use the digital course materials accommodation will be directed to a Canvas course that describes the services, policies and procedures. Then they must agree to the policies and procedures before being able to request textbooks and course materials in digital formats.

Alternative formats are provided for a student's personal use only and are not to be shared with other individuals.

Tips for students

  • Request digital course materials requests as soon as possible
    • Preferably before the start of the semester
  • Requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis

Providing materials

Course materials that are not textbooks will need to be provided to Student Disability Resources by the student so we can convert them to an alternate format.

If SDR is unable to obtain a textbook through existing resources, the student will need to provide their textbook. Student textbooks will be taken apart and rebound with a spiral binding.

Schedule changes

We are not notified if you drop, add, or withdraw from a course. Students must inform us in a timely manner regarding any of these changes for course materials they have requested in digital formats.

Returning digital formats

Digital formats provided by Student Disability Resources are considered a student's personal copy. It is a copyright violation to sell or reproduce the alternate format.

  • If the student retains the textbook, then they do not need to delete the digital format
  • If the student sells the textbook, then they are required to delete all copies of the digital format
    • The digital format cannot be sold along with the textbook, it must be deleted.