Alternative Formats

Alternative Formats (previously Document Conversion) provides students approved for this accommodation with three types of accessible course reading materials (audio, enlarged text, Braille) in three formats (recorded audio, electronic text, and Braille). Students eligible for Alternative Formats need to attend a training session before using the service. For questions, please contact the Alternative Formats Coordinator .

How to Make an Alternative Format Request

  1. Identify materials you plan to request in alternative formats, by contacting your instructors and checking book information in the Course Search & Enroll App through MyUW.
  2. Check for existing sources of materials that may provide you access without needing to submit an accommodation request.
    1. Project Gutenberg (electronic text of books out of copyright) – You can download them without submitting a request to the Alternative Formats Coordinator.
    2. Learning Ally (recorded audio) – If they are available, email the Alternative Formats Coordinator to request a Learning Ally account.
    3. Purchasing or renting audio or e-books instead of print books.
  3. Generate (or revise) your class-specific Student Accommodation Letters in McBurney Connect.
  4. Submit your alternative format requests in McBurney Connect.
  5. Submit your receipts or proof of purchase in McBurney Connect.
  6. Review your alternative format requests and their status in McBurney Connect under LIST BOOKS CURRENTLY BEING PROCESSED FOR (TERM)

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

How to submit your alternative format requests in McBurney Connect (step by step instructions)

  1. Log in to McBurney Connect using your NetID and password.
  2. Under the Accommodations menu on the left side, click Alternative Formats
  3. On the top right, click REQUESTS
  4. Change to the appropriate term by clicking Previous Term or Next Term links located near the top and on either side of the Term.
  5. Scroll down to REQUEST ALTERNATIVE FORMATS to view books that have been imported from your course list.
    1. Note: Imported textbook info will only appear if you have generated the Student Accommodation Letter for the course section, you have included Alternative Formats as an accommodation AND the instructor has added their textbook info to the course info via their Faculty Center.
  6. From this table listing, click the Select link to the left of the textbooks and other materials you are requesting in an alternative format. The request will then move up into the LIST OF BOOK REQUESTS section.
  7. If there are textbooks or other materials not listed that you need to add, scroll down to the heading ADDITIONAL BOOK OR READING MATERIALS for (Year TERM).
    1. Under the section READING MATERIALS, complete the form with info about the book or material.
    2. Click the SUBMIT REQUEST
  8. Scroll back up to the heading LIST OF BOOK REQUESTS to review the requests you have submitted.

How to submit your alternative format receipts in McBurney Connect (step by step instructions)

  1. Log in to McBurney Connect using your NetID and password.
  2. Under the Accommodations menu on the left side, click Alternative Formats.
  3. Change to the appropriate term by clicking Previous Term or Next Term links located near the top and on either side of the Term.
  4. In the tile RECEIPT NEEDED, click UPLOAD RECEIPT.
  5. Under the section RECEIPT DETAIL:
    1. Select file to upload by clicking on the Choose File or Browse… button.
    2. Under the section Select Courses the receipt is for, check the box or boxes to which the receipt corresponds.
    3. Add any notes about the receipt in the text box.
    4. Click the UPLOAD RECEIPT button.
  6. You can review uploaded receipts under the heading UPLOADED RECEIPTS.

How to access/download your alternative format materials (step by step instructions)

You will receive an email from McBurney Connect notifying you when each request is ready.

  1. Log in to McBurney Connect.
  2. Under the Accommodations menu on the left side, select Alternative Formats.
  3. Under REQUEST SUMMARY in the DOWNLOAD BOOKS tile, click on the DOWNLOAD BOOK button.
  4. Click on the Download Book button at the far right of the row to be directed to the material’s location (most commonly UW Box).

Request Timing

All requests should be submitted at least six (6) weeks prior to the start of class. Materials submitted after the 6 week on-time deadline listed below will be processed and made available once on-time requests have been fulfilled.  If you encounter difficulties getting information about your course materials, please contact the Alternative Formats Coordinator .

Semester Materials are to be Used Due Date for ON-TIME Requests
Spring 2024 Tuesday, December 12, 2023
Summer 2024
(4 Week session)
Monday, April 8, 2024
Summer 2024
(3 Week session)
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Summer 2024
(8 Week Session)
Monday, May 6, 2024
Fall 2024 Wednesday, July 24, 2024

McBurney Center Technology Drop-In Hours

McBurney staff meeting with student to troubleshoot notetaking software issue
Have questions about your accommodations that use technology/software?

We offer consulting with McBurney Connect, alternative formats, Kurzweil 3000, smartpens, Echo Desktop, and notetaking apps.

Where: Stop by the McBurney Center
When: (1/29/2024 – 5/6/2024)

  • Mondays: 10:00am – Noon

If you are unable to make drop-in hours, please make an appointment  by contacting the McBurney Center at 608-263-2741 (voice) or 608-225-7956 (text).

Sample Email to Instructors

This letter is intended for students emailing their faculty to find out what the readings will be for full semester courses. We suggest that you copy and paste the text below into your email program. Then, edit and personalize the letter as appropriate. There are several place holders indicated by “<INSERT …>” to enter the course info, instructor name, semester, your name, and your contact information.

[Subject Line]: Reading materials for <INSERT COURSE NAME/NUMBER>


My name is <INSERT YOUR NAME> and I am enrolled in <INSERT COURSE NAME/NUMBER> for <INSERT SEMESTER>. I am approved for Alternative Format as an accommodation through the McBurney Disability Resource Center ( This service provides reading materials in formats that are accessible for students.

I am requesting your assistance in providing me with the following information regarding any reading materials that will be used in your course, so I can determine which materials need to be obtained and converted to an alternative format.  Because of the time it can take to obtain and convert materials, it is important to start this process well before the semester begins.

Would you please send me a detailed list of any reading materials (including textbooks, reading packets, class handouts, library reserve materials, readings posted on web pages, e-reserves, lab manuals, etc.) we will be using during the semester that are not already entered in SIS/Faculty Center.

Reading Type: Textbook, reader, handouts, web links, e-reserves, lab manual, etc.

Copyright and/or edition:
ISBN Number (if known):
Bookstores, copy stores, or other source where available:
Is a previous edition an appropriate substitute?  If so, what edition(s)?:

Thank you for your assistance.  If you have any further questions, please contact me or the Alternative Formats (Document Conversion) Coordinator at the McBurney Center (608) 265-5468 or