Accessible Resource Centre - British Columbia

Providing BC Educators with Alternate Format Materials for their Students with Perceptual Disabilities

The Accessible Resource Centre - British Columbia is a BC Ministry of Education funded response to the increasing demand for digital or alternate format alternatives to print in BC classrooms. The goal of ARC-BC is to provide BC students with perceptual disabilities and the educators supporting them with high quality digital alternate format materials based on the BC K-12 curriculum.

ARC-BC is managed by PRCVI (Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired) and works in consultation and partnership with BC school districts, other alternate format producers, and publishers to provide recommended and requested materials in a timely manner.

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Current News

ARC-BC News - November/December 2018

With the holidays just around the corner, the ARC-BC team would like to wish all of our users, their students, and families the very best of the season and a happy and healthy year ahead. As we wrap up 2018 we would like to announce a number of new upgrades and improvements to the ARC-BC user experience! We've outlined these developments in the sections that follow and along with an important announcement.

In this issue:

  • **Save the Date - Provincial Conference on Creating Accessible Educational Materials**
  • New "Download All" Feature
  • EPUB3 Format Materials - Looking to the Future of Digital Accessible Learning Materials

SAVE THE DATE - MAY 10-11, 2019

The 2019 PRCVI and BC Vision Teachers' Association conference will be on May 10-11, 2019 at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Richmond, BC.

The title of our conference is Designing for Inclusion: Creating Accessible Educational Materials for All Learners. Dr Luis Pérez from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials at CAST will be presenting on the principles of inclusive design and how these can be used by content creators to ensure that digital educational materials are accessible to all learners. While the focus of Dr Pérez's presentation will be on educational materials in the K-12 sector, this is important content for anyone seeking to create and share accessible digital information with learners, clients, and users with diverse access requirements.

Resources to promote the design and implementation of accessible educational materials for all learners has been a major area of focus for our ARC-BC team in our tenth anniversary year. We've been presenting to educators across our province and are regularly updating our web resource devoted to the Universal Design of Learning Materials. Check back often - more instructional videos are coming soon.

Please see the PRCVI website for a more detailed announcement. Registration to follow immediately after the upcoming winter break.

New "Download All" Feature

Some users may have already discovered a recent upgrade to how users download files from ARC-BC. Previously, users had to click individual hyperlinks to download each file in the cart. The user interface now presents an option for the user to download all files in the cart at once in one convenient .ZIP archive. When the files are unzipped, each title appears in an individual folder with entire book or chapter files contained therein.

The ability to "Download All" was requested by users through the ARC-BC Year-End User Survey. Please continue to let us know what features and functionality you would like to see added to the ARC-BC user experience. Please note: This feature works best when downloading materials on PC or laptop platforms. If downloading materials directly onto a mobile device, users still have the option to download via individual hyperlinks in the cart.

EPUB3 Format Materials - Looking to the Future of Digital Accessible Learning Materials

The ARC-BC team has started to produce learning materials in EPUB format. EPUB is the standard format for digital publishing and offers a number of advantages for students with perceptual disabilities using digital alternate format materials to access learning content. There are a number of programs that can be used to read materials in EPUB format, including Apple Books, Voice Dream Reader, and Microsoft Edge. To find the titles currently available in EPUB format in ARC-BC, select ".epub" from the File Format menu on the Search page. At the moment, the ARC-BC team is only able to produce EPUB format files for novels and elementary -level non-fiction. If your student would benefit from EPUB format, please submit a new title/format request. As we work to refine and extend our EPUB workflow to include middle- and secondary-level textbooks, we will post updates in the ARC-BC News.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

- The ARC-BC Provincial Team.