OCA Learn Support & Guidance

Alternative file format conversions in your courses

OCA Learn provides alternative versions of its course materials for students and tutors to download. This service is provided through the 'Brickfield Toolkit alternative file format conversion tool’ and gives staff and students the ability to easily generate and download multiple alternate file formats of the existing educational resources within their course.

The toolkit provides several conversion options, depending on the type of original file or resource being converted, whether it is a word document, a PDF, a Book resource, a spreadsheet and so on.

The Brickfield Toolkit alternative file format conversion tool is available within your course units and other spaces on OCA Learn through the conversion icon illustrated below (three arrows in a circular formation).

Request conversion icon beside a file resource

Requesting an alternative file format

When you use the Request conversion icon, a popup screen appears, where you can select the available alternative format options for converting the file.

File conversion modal screen where user selects their conversion options, to request the new format file

Different conversion types

The “Conversion Type” dropdown shows the initial available options for the file being converted, so in this example case for a Word document, they are as follows:

  • Text

  • Audio

  • Ebook


  • Braille

These main conversion types are then split into formats, depending again on the file being converted, so in this example case for a Word document for a Text type, they are as follows:

  • PDF – Tagged PDF

  • TXT – Plain text

Each different conversion type has a different range of formats on offer. For instance, if you select the Audio type, you then can select the language that the original document has been composed in, and the speed that you want the audio to be converted to, according to your preference. 

File conversion modal screen for Audio where user selects their conversion options, to request the new format file

Once you have selected both the conversion type and format options, you should click on the “Request” button to proceed with the conversion, or click on the “Cancel” button to cancel the request and return to the course main page.

When you click on the “Request” button, the toolkit checks if this particular type and format conversion has been previously requested and processed for this file resource.

If the specific conversion type has already been processed, the alternative file will already be stored, and will be instantly produced as a file that can be downloaded. If you are a member of academic or head office staff, and you know in advance that a particular student will need audio conversions (and which speed format they prefer), you can request those conversions to get them processed in advance, so that they will then be ready for instant downloading whenever the student needs them.

If the file has not already been converted to the specified conversion type and format, the alternative file will be requested, and the student will see a confirmation message displayed. This means that their conversion request has been queued and they can safely return to the course main page. To exit out of the popup screen, they can either click on the “Close” button, or on the “X” icon in the top right corner of the popup, or else click anywhere on the screen outside the popup screen.

File conversion popup screen with request queued confirmation message

Retrieving a newly processed alternative file format

The file conversion can take between a few minutes and an hour usually, depending on the size and type of the file content being converted.

Once the alternative format file process is completed, you will see a new notification alert confirming the status of the file conversion.

Request alert with the notifications icon

When you click on this notification popup, you can then click on the "(Filename) is ready for download" link to bring up the new file to open or download. You can also click on the relevant "View full notification" link to view all the notification messages.

Notification icon dropdown list of all notifications

In the notifications page, you will see the full notification message, which contains the message details such as “Your document conversion request for "Accessibility Basics Handout original.mp3 Audio' is now ready for download." You can also click on this link to open or download the new file.

User's notification page, showing link to click to download the alternative format file

You will now have access to the converted file, in the conversion type and format requested! You can either open it directly or save it to a device to interact with it later.

Self Service Accessibility File Conversion

Available within OCA Learn, students can request any text based document, webpage or self written text be converted into an alternate and accessible file format, which is subsequently delivered to your OCA email address.

To begin, access the Self Service Accessibility File Conversion page and either upload your file, paste a link to the relevant webpage or manually enter text. Next select your preferred format, either audio, braille or ebook followed by any specific format options. Once complete, next enter your OCA email address and select the ‘Submit’ option. Once processed, your requested file will be delivered via email.

Read Aloud

Available from within any page, course or activity, users can request text available within OCA Learn to be read aloud and at varying playback speeds.

To begin, highlight the desired text up to 500 words. With the desired text highlighted, next select the ‘Text to Speech’ option (Speech Bubble icon) - located in the bottom left - followed by ‘Process Audio’.

Once processed and usually within a matter of seconds, you can then start the playback by selecting the ‘Play’ option, and if necessary, adjust the playback speed by selecting the ‘Kebab’ menu (Three Dots), followed by ‘Playback Speed’ and selecting a preferred option.

Users can repeat this process as many times as necessary, however, cannot navigate away from the page otherwise the audio playback will be stopped.