Timely Accessibility of Instructional Materials
NOTE: The Cal Poly Academic Senate has examined the question of student access to instructional materials through two different lenses — accessibility and affordability. Resolutions AS-654-07 and AS-945-22, when combined, provide the following set of policy guidelines on the timely adoption of accessible and affordable instructional materials.
Cal Poly has a commitment to ensure that all students have access to instructional materials in a timely manner. Textbooks and coursepacks are often required courseware and must be available to all students at the same time. The conversion and processing of such materials to accessible formats by the Disability Resource Center takes several weeks. Therefore, Cal Poly's Academic Senate has established the following requirements:
- Departments are required to inform the University Bookstore of textbook and coursepack selections for each term by the deadline established by the Office of the Registrar. (See “Compliance and Deadlines” section.) Documented course exceptions to this deadline are permissible with justification by the Department Chair/Head.
- For as many courses as possible, departments will establish standing textbook selections with the University Bookstore.
- Faculty are encouraged to choose course materials from publishers who provide accessible content.
- Departments will establish processes for faculty or staff instructional material coordinators to monitor and remind faculty who do not have their instructional material selections placed by the established deadline.
In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into federal law and states the following:
“To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall ... disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number and retail price information of required and recommended [course materials] for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes.”
In a memo of April 21, 2021, the CSU Office of the Chancellor restated their expectation that “campuses are to provide students access to course material information and costs associated with the schedule of classes for each term, no later than the first date of registration.” These requirements are designed, as noted in the HEOA, “to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials.”
Compliance and Deadlines
Complying with the HEOA requirements is a condition for the CSU receiving student financial aid from the federal government. Such compliance also contributes to Cal Poly’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
By the fourth Friday of January each year, the Office of the Registrar will notify faculty of, and publish on its website, a calendar of course material adoption deadlines for all terms of the approaching academic year.
A process for regular dissemination of this information will be established.
Academic Senate Resolution: AS-654-07 "Resolution on Timely Accessibility to Instructional Materials" (PDF). Adopted 13 March 2007.
Academic Senate Resolution: AS-945-22 "Resolution on Timely Adoption of Courseware in Support of Affordability and Transparency" (PDF). Adopted 24 May 2022.
CSU Executive Order: EO 1111 "Disability Support and Accomodations Policy". Revised 28 March 2022.
CSU Coded Memo: AA-2006-41 "Accessible Technology Initiative Policy". Revised 25 January 2023.
U.S. Federal Law: 110-315 "Higher Education Opportunity Act" (PDF). 14 August 2008.
CSU Office of the Chancellor Memorandum: "Compliance with the Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) through disclosure of course material information" (PDF). 21 April 2021.