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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Update on the AccessText Network

As mentioned in a previous posting, the AccessText Network is working to make it easier for colleges and universities to provide course materials to students with disabilities. The initiative consists of an online database that aggregates publisher information to allow institutions to order electronic versions of the content or gain permission to scan course materials.

According to a recent article from eSchool News, the service is currently in beta testing and will officially launch in July 2010 but already more than 650 colleges and universities have enrolled. The article reports that with the system, orders can be fulfilled in about four days and already 3,000 requests have been fulfilled since August. Without AccessText, it can take weeks or months for students with disabilities to receive their textbooks. In addition, members of the network are able to access the publishers that produce 92 percent of the college textbooks on the market.

Mike Shuttic, president of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), commented that AccessText Network is "a significant step forward that combines stakeholder resources and addresses the rights of students with disabilities. I encourage every member of the disability community to coalesce around this solution, ensuring its success."

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