In order for students with learning disabilities to get the most out of AMAC, accommodation is key.
AMAC, the Accessibility Solutions and Research Center, supports around 2,500 colleges and universities to accommodate and make accessible reading materials for students with learning disabilities.
Christopher Lee says AMAC’s mission is especially important as large education publishers like Pearson, McGraw and Cengage struggle to make their products and platforms accessible to students.
“The idea is that we provide them with content that is in an accessible format,” says Lee, Department Head of AMAC, at Georgia Tech. “AMAC is an organization that supports institutions’ disability services offices to ensure that the students get access to this content in accessible formats, depending on their learning challenges or limitations.”
How It Works
Through AMAC’s accessibility process, colleges gather the book titles their students need accommodated. Those students then select which “flavor” of media they want their text copied from, which can include PDFs, Doc files, and more.
The students’ college will then submit the requests through AMAC’s portal, and AMAC will either pull that book from its repository (if it already possess that book), order it through the manufacturer, or order it through Amazon.
Did You Know?
An average college textbook is anywhere between 600-850 pages.
From there, AMAC uses ABBYY FineReader, an optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert the submitted text into a more accessible format for those students.
“Right now, we’re fitting about 40,000 types of media textbooks at about a 45 percent reuse rate,” Lee says. “We can receive about 500 orders a week…We will basically complete the order and it will notify the student through an email. They are able to go to a student download center and they download that textbook as well as the system of technology that matches that content. The idea is making sure that it’s high quality and timeliness that happens before the students get into their courses.”
Once students download their completed text, they can manipulate it to enhance their learning, such as numbering pages, and moving around pictures.