Access to Academic Materials for Post-Secondary Students with Print Disabilities

Service Provider Survey

Service Provider Profiles

The service provider survey consists of 32 questions and was divided into three sections: Institutional, Materials, and General. 67 surveys were returned, representing 55 separate institutions. Two service provider surveys did not identify their institution. The 67 respondents represent every province except Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. The total number of disabled students attending these institutions is reported to be 22,250. However, there are 55 separate universities and colleges from 67 responses, so an approximate number of students with disabilities attending the 55 institutions is 18,805 . Students with print disabilities totalled 4,218, with a total of 3,711 when duplications from multiple service providers who answered from the same institution are taken into account.

The majority of service provider responses came from Ontario (25.76%), followed by Quebec (18.18%), British Columbia (16.67%), Alberta (15.15%), Nova Scotia (10.61%), New Brunswick (7.58%), Manitoba (4.55%), and Newfoundland & Labrador (1.51%). The type of institutions represented by the 67 respondents is as follows: universities 29 (43.28%), community colleges 20 (29.58%), CEGEPs eight (11.94%), “other” eight (11.94%), and technical/vocational two (2.99%).

Forty-five of the 67 service providers reported that their office was the sole provider or producer of alternate formats at their institution, and 51 reported that they produce alternate format materials ‘in-house’. Of these 51, 46 state that their ‘in-house’ materials are produced in the disability service centre, while 10 state the print shop produces the ‘in-house’ materials. ‘In-house’ materials produced most often were exams, textbooks, workbooks, assignments and online courses. For those who reported that their alternate format materials were produced elsewhere, the results show that RFB&D (31), Resource Centre (28), CNIB (21), and Self-Production (26) were the most prominent.

E-text, audio analogue, large print, and Braille were indicated as the formats that are most requested by students as a first preference. The service provider responses paint a picture of complex adaptive technologies, with a range of choices available to the students. However, there remain difficulties with the provision of these materials (in terms of timeliness), and some concerns regarding the quality of certain formats and services (books on tape, tutors). In response to question 27 regarding the overall knowledge of the production of alternate format academic materials, almost 27% of the service providers reported that this “needs improvement”, one-third claimed this knowledge was “average”, 9.5% “good”, 21% “very good”, and around 10% “excellent”.

Most of the service providers provided an extensive quantity of open-ended commentary, on a wide range of issues. From this commentary and the full list of questions (see below), a comprehensive picture of the current state of service provision for students with print disabilities in Canada is provided.

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