Many online students, including those taking courses at University of Phoenix use TextAloud to listen to their course materials, either at the computer, or making MP3 files to listen portably.
TextAloud will read word documents, HTML and text documents, web pages, and most PDF files. University of Phoenix has some copy protection enabled on the PDF files they distribute that keep TextAloud from directly opening the documents. However, with these documents it is possible to copy the text to the windows clipboard. You can do this by highlighting words in the document then hitting control-C, or doing Edit->Select All, then Edit->Copy to copy the text to the windows clipboard. Using this, it is possible to put all of the text into TextAloud using TextAloud's hotkeys, or TextAloud's clipboard watching feature. More info on these features in the TextAloud manual at