Accessibility and Open Educational Resources report
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This report focuses on results of the "Accessibility and OERs [Open Educational Resources]" survey which was conducted by Anna Gruszczynska on behalf of SCORE (Support Centre for Open Resources in ...

This report focuses on results of the "Accessibility and OERs [Open Educational Resources]" survey which was conducted by Anna Gruszczynska on behalf of SCORE (Support Centre for Open Resources in Education at Open University) as part of a project exploring issues of accessibility in the context of Open Educational Resources (OERs), where OERs are teaching and learning materials available freely online at point of access for everyone to use, re-use, share and repurpose. In the context of the research project, accessibility refers to the ability of web-based resources to be viewed, navigated and read by everyone, including learners with additional needs, which may be due to auditory, visual, mobility, and/or cognitive impairments. The survey sought perspectives of educators who are involved with using, creating and sharing educational content online, regardless of their familiarity with OER initiatives.

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Accessibility and Open Educational Resources report Accessibility and Open Educational Resources report Document Transcript

  • Report from the "Accessibility and OERs [Open Educational Resources]"surveyIntroductionThis report focuses on results of the "Accessibility and OERs [Open Educational Resources]"survey which was conducted by Anna Gruszczynska on behalf of SCORE (Support Centre forOpen Resources in Education at Open University) as part of a project exploring issues ofaccessibility in the context of Open Educational Resources (OERs), where OERs are teachingand learning materials available freely online at point of access for everyone to use, re-use,share and repurpose. In the context of the research project, accessibility refers to the abilityof web-based resources to be viewed, navigated and read by everyone, including learnerswith additional needs, which may be due to auditory, visual, mobility, and/or cognitiveimpairments. The survey sought perspectives of educators who are involved with using,creating and sharing educational content online, regardless of their familiarity with OERinitiatives.The survey was web-based and designed using the surveymonkey.com platform, with somequestions re-used from the ORIOLE (Open Resources: Influence on Learners and Educators)survey with kind permission of Chris Pegler. First draft of the survey was re-designedfollowing feedback from Tim Seal at SCORE and comments from pilot respondents. Thesurvey was released at the beginning of April 2012, with information distributed via thefollowing mailing lists: SCORE fellows, OER-discuss (UK-based mailing list for teaching andresearch practitioners interested in the topic of Open Educational Resources); ITTE (TheAssociation for Information Technology in Teacher Education). Information about the surveywas also sent out via Twitter and to relevant contacts within professional associations suchas JISCTechDis and Higher Education Academy. Overall, between 1 April and 10 May 2012when it was closed, the survey attracted 94 respondents. All data obtained through thesurvey were anonymised and used for research purposes only, with the final report fromthis survey and subsequent report from the SCORE project which will be informed by thissurvey hosted on a dedicated project wiki oeraccessibility.pbworks.com.The rationale for undertaking the survey stemmed from preliminary work undertaken by theauthor of the survey, where artefacts emerging in the context of UK Open EducationalResources (UKOER) phase 1 and 2 programme1were searched and analysed for references1For more information about the UKOER programme, see www.jisc.ac.uk/oer.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 1
  • to accessibility2. The results of this scoping exercise indicated that accessibility was eithernot explicitly addressed within project documents or was treated as an afterthought, withproject managers reporting that they lacked adequate resources to produce fully accessibleOERs. Therefore, the aim of this survey was to build on the work already undertaken andgain a better understanding of issues involved in accessibility and Open Educationalresources. The following sections will focus on feedback from respondents and on the basisof these answers, the author will provide recommendations for addressing accessibilityissues and identify areas where further work might be needed.Background information (questions 1-6)To start with, respondents were provided with background information about the survey(question 1) and then asked to agree to take part in the survey (question 2) and informedthat all data will be anonymised and used for research purposes. The first part of the surveywas concerned with background information about the respondents, such as their location,key roles with regard to employment as well as discipline.Question 3: Location of respondentsIn terms of their location, as Table 1 below indicates, most respondents were based in theUK, with a minority located in Europe and rest of the world. This is related to the fact thatthe survey was distributed primarily via UK-based networks given that the author wasprimarily interested in surveying the opinions of practitioners based within the UK.Table 1. Location of survey respondents In which part of the world do you usually work? UK 89.36% 84 Europe 8.51% 8 Rest of the world 2.13% 2 Total 942 For a full text of the scoping survey, see Gruszczynska, A (2011). Accessibility issues in the context ofUK OpenEducational Resources programme. Available from http://www.slideshare.net/akgruszczynska/accessibility-issues-in-the-context-of-ukoer-programme [Last accessed 10 May 2012].Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 2
  • Question 4: Sector in which respondents are basedThe next question focused on the sector within which the respondents were based, giventhat the issues related to OERs and accessibility (such as attitudes of practitioners, needs oflearners, access to specialist support etc.) will vary across different types of institutions. AsTable 2 indicates, the majority of respondents are located within the Higher Educationsector, followed by Further Education. This is representative of the fact that most of OER-related work in the UK so far has taken place within HE/FE context, although some of theprojects funded within the UKOER phase 3 of the programme are engaged withconstituencies outside of this sector, such as schools.3 A small minority of surveyparticipants are located outside of the HE/FE sector, in areas such asadult/community/voluntary services, work-based learning and schools or specialist colleges.Table 2. Sector in which respondents are basedWhich sector(s) do you work in?Higher Education 89.36% 84Further Education 14.89% 14Adult/Community/ Voluntary 5.32% 5Work Based Learning 4.26% 4Schools 7.45% 7Other 4.26% 4The answers add up to more than 100% as respondents could choose more thanone answer, given that some are located across different sectors.Question 5: Current roles of survey respondentsThe next question enquired about the current roles of respondents in terms of theiremployment, with the answers indicating that the majority of respondents are involved withteaching, either directly or in support roles as for instance learning technologists, see Table3 See for instance "Digital Futures in Teacher Education" project being undertaken at Sheffield HallamUniversity, www.deftoer3.wordpress.com and Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching (ORBIT)undertaken at Cambridge University, http://orbit.educ.cam.ac.uk).Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 3
  • 3 below. Less than half of respondents have indicated that one of their roles involvesresearch and a minority indicated that they are involved in staff development or provision oflibrary services. The responses in the "other" section mentioned further roles such asmanagement, consultancy and advocacy for learners with disabilities. Accordingly, theresults of the survey reflect accessibility-related issues and concerns as experienced by awide variety of education professionals and are strongly informed by perspectives ofpractitioners who on a day-to-day basis provide support to the learners.Table 3. Current roles of survey respondentsPlease identify your current role(s) and select any that apply. Teaching 61.7% 58 Research 41.49% 39 Learning technology support 30.85% 29 Staff development 28.72% 27 Library staff 21.28% 20 Other 12.76% 12 The answers add up to more than 100% as respondents could choose more than one answer, given that some perform a number of different roles.Question 6: Discipline background of respondentsThis question was included given that preliminary research undertaken in preparation forthis survey indicated that there are a number of accessibility issues which are discipline-specific; for instance the use of formulae and special symbols in maths-based resources canpresent challenges for learners with visual impairments; diagrams used in biosciences;similarly, learners with visual impairments could be challenges by images included in arts-based resources if these lack appropriate alternative descriptions. The answers provided inTable 4 add up to more 100%, given that some respondents indicated that they are locatedacross two or more different discipline areas. The majority of respondents are located inscience-based subjects, such as maths, health or biosciences. Half of respondents describetheir disciplinary background as education-related, with a minority located in arts and socialsciences. At the same time, a significant minority of respondents identified themselves asAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 4
  • located in the "other" category, and indicated that their work spans across a number ofdifferent disciplines. This is a relevant finding in terms of provision of OER-relatedaccessibility resources, as it indicates that any resources that are created will need to meetthe needs of both practitioners within specific disciplines as well as professionals such aslibrarians or learning technologists whose remit is often cross-disciplinary.Table 4. Discipline background of respondentsWhich discipline areas are you located in? Arts, Languages and History 18.57% Mathematics, Computing and Engineering 28.57% Sciences and Environmental Sciences 12.86% Health and Medicine 14.29% Social Sciences 8.57% Education 50% Business and Management 12.86% Other 42.87% The answers add up to more than 100% as respondents could choose more than one answer, given that some are located within more than one discipline area.Involvement with OER initiatives (questions 7-10)Question 7: Previous involvement with OER projectsThe next set of questions aimed to establish the extent of respondents involvement withOER-related initiatives. Accordingly, in question 7, respondents were asked whether withinthe past three years they worked on a project where there was a requirement by funders tocreate, share or use Open Educational Resources. Respondents who provided an affirmativeresponse to this question (over half of survey respondents overall; 53%) then proceeded toanswer a follow-up question 8 where they were asked to provide the name of the project.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 5
  • Question 8: Names of OER projectsThe projects that the respondents have been involved with span a variety of mostly UK-based and European-wide initiatives: UK Open Educational Resources programme projects (all phases between 2009-2012) NDLR Irelands National Digital Learning Repository ICoper (Interoperable Content forPerformance in a Competency-driven Society) OERtest (Testing the Feasibility of OER-Course Certification) OpenScout (Open Educational Resources for Business and Management Education) OPAL (Open Educational Quality (OPAL) Initiative VOA3R (Virtual Open Access Agriculture & Aquaculture Repository ) OrganicEdunet (Learning material on organic agriculture in Europe)The respondents also mentioned initiatives which took place in developing countries, suchas TESSA - Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa.Question 9: Embedding accessibility within OER initiativesThe following question focused on the extent to which accessibility was embedded withinindividual elements of the project, such as project documents (project plan and report) andworkpackages (resource creation and evaluation). As can be seen from chart 1 below, aboutthree quarters of respondents indicate that for each of the above elements accessibility wasindeed a consideration. Interestingly, this perception is not confirmed by an earlier scopingsurvey of documents and resources produced in the context of the UKOER programmeundertaken by the author of the survey; where an analysis of artefacts created in thecontext of the programme indicated that accessibility was rarely mentioned or incorporatedwithin the project workflow. It has to be noted that this survey includes respondents whohave been working on OER projects outside of the UKOER programme and so it would beinteresting to examine the potential difference in approaches towards accessibility betweenUK-based and EU-funded projects. Furthermore, a number of survey respondents indicatedthat they would be willing to be contacted for a follow-up interview and so the author willundertake further research to establish what is understood by embedding accessibilitywithin an OER project.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 6
  • Chart 1. Embedding of accessibility within OER projects Embedding of accessibility within individual elements of the OER projects 100.00% 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% Yes 40.00% No 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% project plan resource creation project evaluation project reportAt the same time, a minority of respondents offered comments which shed light on ways inwhich accessibility concerns were being addressed: Assumed rather than embedded may be more accurate. The more honest answer is "sort of", for the most part. Not explicitlyTherefore, it would be worthwhile to explore not only the understandings of respondents ofwhat constitutes "embedding accessibility" in their context, but also to make sure that OERproject holders are encouraged to explicitly address accessibility within project documents,for instance by including an accessibility-related section for project reporting templates.Question 10: Embedding accessibility within OER initiativesIn the next question, respondents were prompted to provide further information on anyaccessibility-related challenges and issues which they encountered in the context of OERinitiatives they were involved with.To start with, the responses pointed to technology-related challenges, such as the lack ofskills to repurpose resources in a way which renders them accessible or limitations ofsoftware used to create open teaching materials. A number of responses identified lowavailability of resources as an issue of concern:Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 7
  • Lack of tech support for faculty to make online content accessible Accessibility issues can be very differently prioritised in resource challenged environments such as sub Saharan Africa eg low bandwidth, older software, high printing costs and lack of facilities such as screen readers (or awareness of the need to consider these issues in resource design). The items are audio recordings, for which only a few (about 20 out of 160) have transcripts that were made at the time of recording (the 60s & 70s) - there are no resources available to make transcripts for the remaining tapesThe responses above touch upon the complexity of issues involved in creating accessibleOERs, where lack of adequate resources can refer to inadequate provision in terms oftechnical support available within the institution; lack of financial support to addressparticular aspects of accessibility (such as providing transcripts for a resource) or overallshortage of resource due to a challenging environment. On top of that, lack of resources isoften complicated by lack of awareness which can create additional obstacles for OERcreators wishing to enhance accessibility of resources they are releasing. For instance, as thefollowing response indicates, it is not enough to ensure that the resource is accessible sincethe accessibility features of the platform onto which it is deposited can be just as important: Our requests for a more accessible interface to the repository delayed the project significantly as despite having produced many repositories it appeared that the developers had not considered accessibility in any depth. Our original plans to include an audio-recorded commentary with each resource deposited were not taken up by the resource providers.This comment emphasises a key issue related to OERs and accessibility, that is, past thepoint of deposit, the resource creator is no longer in control of the environment in whichthe material is hosted and if the repository lacks adequate accessibility features, then bydefault so will the resource. Therefore, it is crucial to address accessibility issues across thewide range of OER-related stakeholders and not focus solely on resource creators.Experiences with resource use creation (questions 11-13)The next set of questions was aimed at establishing whether the respondents were directlyinvolved in selecting, designing and sharing resources in the context of their employment.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 8
  • Question 11: Experiences of using web-based resourcesChart 2 Do you select, adapt or use web-based learning resources in the context of your main employment? 100.00% 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% Yes 50.00% No 40.00% N/A 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% For students For colleagues For othersAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 9
  • Question 12: Experiences of resource creationChart 3 Do you design or create web-based learning resources in the context of your main employment? 100.00% 90.00% 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% Yes 50.00% No 40.00% Not applicable 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% For students For colleagues For othersAs evidenced by the charts 2 and 3 above, the, the majority of respondents are indeedinvolved with both selecting and designing content for the purposes of their employment;mostly for the benefit of their students and in some cases colleagues and other beneficiaries.This indicates that any accessibility-related guidance should primarily focus on addressingaccessibility-related needs of learners.Question 13: Experiences of releasing content openlyThe next question enquired whether the respondents have released any resources theycreate as OERs, with close to half (43.64% respondents) giving an affirmative answer to thatquestion. This result reflects the fact that about half of respondents have been involvedwith OER relates projects, and would be considerably lower across the general population ofeducation practitioners. At the same time, given the focus of the survey, the high level ofinvolvement in OER creation indicates that the results of the survey reflect the concerns ofpractitioners who are on a day-to-day basis involved in creating, choosing and openlysharing content.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 10
  • Relevance of accessibility features of teaching resources (questions14-16)The next set of questions focused on accessibility features of teaching materials whichrespondents identified as most important when searching for and creating web-basedresources.Question 14: Importance of accessibility features when searching forresourcesChart 4 Importance of accesibility features when searching for resources easily available alternative file formats 3.86 ability to customise settings 3.76 transcript for any audio/video elements of the resource 3.59 information about in-built accessibility considerations 3.58 alternative description for any images used 3.48 compatibility with screen-reader devices 3.34 compatibility with screen magnification software 3.19 compatibility with voice recognition software 3.02 keyboard-only navigation 2.78 Values are on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is least important and 5 is very importantAs the above chart indicates, when it comes to searching for resources and the factorsinfluencing the choice of a resource for teaching and learning purposes, respondentsidentified the most important accessibility features as the provision of alternative fileformats and the customisability of the resource (i.e. giving the user an opportunity to adaptthe resource to their own needs by changing font size, file format, background colour etc.).The presence of transcript was identified as similarly relevant, alongside information aboutany in-built accessibility features. Interestingly, compatibility with assistive devices such asscreen magnification or voice recognition software was perceived as being of lesserimportance. This might be related to the fact that overall, these could be perceived asspecialist-solutions not immediately relevant to the everyday context of most practitionersexcept in exceptional circumstances. At the same time, the answers to this question point tothe need to ensure that the basis accessibility features - alternative formats, ability toAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 11
  • customise settings etc. are embedded within the process of designing OERs and thattranscripts should be routinely provided, where possible.Question 15: Importance of accessibility features when designing resourcesThe next question elicited responses on accessibility features which respondents identifiedas key when designing their own resources.Chart 5 Importance of accessibility features when designing resources transcript for any audio/video elements of the 3.83 resource ability to customise settings (such as font 3.76 type, size and colour; background colours etc.) easily available alternative file formats 3.74 alternative description for any images used 3.64 information for the user about any in-built 3.62 accessibility considerations compatibility with screen-reader devices 3.34 compatibility with screen magnification software 3.18 compatibility with voice recognition software 3.04 keyboard-only navigation 2.78 Values are on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is least important and 5 very importantThe results (see Chart 5 above) seem to overlap with responses provided to the previousquestion, and so one of the most important accessibility features of a resource seems to beproviding a transcript and ensuring that a resource is customisable in terms of alternativefile formats as well as the ability to change settings and adapt the resource to the needs ofits users. Once again, compatibility with assistive software and devices seems to beaccorded a lower priority.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 12
  • Question 16: Factors influencing choice of resource to meet accessibilityneeds of learnersQuestion 16 focused on factors which would influence the decision of respondents tochoose a web-based resource in a situation where they had to accommodate particularaccessibility needs of their learners.Chart 6 Factors influencing choice of resource to meet accessibility needs of learners Clear description of the resource which indicates 4.14 relevant accessibility features Recommendation from colleague 4.09 Recommendation by a professional body dealing 3.94 with accessibility such as JISCTechDis Recommendation from an accessibility specialist 3.94 Reputation of the creator of the resource 3.83 Values are on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is least important and 5 is very importantWhile most factors scored quite highly as can be gleaned from Chart 6 above; interestingly,it is clear description of the resource which was identified as the most important factor. Thisis an indication that creators of OERs should be encouraged to adequately describe theirteaching materials in a way which alerts any future (re)users to accessibility features ofthese resources and also that perhaps these features should also be signalled through theuse of metadata for the resource. It is also worth noting that personal recommendations,whether coming from a colleague, accessibility specialist or a representative of a relevantprofessional body were identified as quite important.Q17: Tools and strategies helpful in creating accessible resources The aim of question 17 was to encourage questionnaire participants to focus on tools andstrategies which would help them to enhance accessibility features of a resource they werecreating in a situation where they would have to address any additional needs of theirlearners.Anna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 13
  • Chart 7 Tools and strategies helpful in creating accessible resources Support from your institution to cover any additional 4.07 costs (transcription, training etc.) Guidance from a professional body dealing with 4.01 accessibility such as JISCTechDis Guidance from an accessibility specialist 4 Guidance from a colleague experienced in OER 3.85 creation Support from a learning technologist 3.7 Case studies of issues involved in creating accessible 3.56 OERs Values are on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is least helpful and 5 is most helpfulAs can be seen from chart 7 above, the strategies which scored most highly involvedinstitutional support, followed by guidance from accessibility specialists. Therefore, theseresults indicate that accessibility should be firmly embedded within any institutional policieswhich focus on OERs and that adequate resources should be provided to ensure thatresources released openly are fully accessible to learners.The respondents also had an option to elaborate on their answers by filling in the "other"field, with these responses offering rich material helpful for gaining a more in-depthunderstanding of OER-related accessibility issues. To start with, the feedback offered byrespondents indicates that accessibility issues in the context of OERs should not bediscussed in isolation from existing academic and teaching practices, as evidenced by thefollowing quote: I wonder if you need to explore extent to which individuals have been presented with the need to ensure accessibility in their own teaching. I work on the basis that digital formats are suitable for screen readers etc. and if I am conscious of students in my teaching groups that require access I will make modification. However given the pressures that teachers are under my main disposition towards accessibility is that this aAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 14
  • function of intelligent software agents or specialist support. Therefore if I am making my materials available for others I would value a set of criteria that the materials have to meet ... But I wonder if this will inhibit my readiness to freely offer this for reuse.Thus the quote points to general attitudes towards accessibility, where creators of teachingmaterials address accessibility issues only when learners present specific additional learningneeds and so retrofit their resources to meet the needs of these learners rather thanembed accessibility into the process of resource creation at the outset. Furthermore, thatcomment indicates that more often than not, digital resources are presumed to beaccessible by virtue of embedded accessibility features of technology used to create them.While it is true that most software packages used to create teaching resources (includingreally popular ones such as the Office suite) come equipped with a number of embeddedaccessibility features, at the same time, the awareness of users and the uptake of thesefeatures remain quite low. For instance, few users take full advantage of such featuresprovided by the Office suite when creating presentations and documents even thoughsimple steps such as using "true styles" in Microsoft Word or providing alternativedescription for images used in PowerPoint presentations can greatly enhance accessibilityof a resource. Furthermore, there is a need to address the tacit assumption that by virtue ofbeing web-based and openly available, a resource is by default accessible, as can be seen inthe following comment: Ive just realized I have never really considered accessibility in OERs I am repurposing - just assumed they would be OK as they are from a reputable source.At the same time, as has been argued earlier in this report, the responsibility for ensuringthe accessibility of OERs should not be seen solely as that of resource creators, given thecomplexity of the issue which is addressed in the following quotes: I would like to author resources to be more compliant for accessibility purposes, but I have not support from my institute. Learning technologists appear to specialise in using the institutional VLE - which is a behemoth - Blackboard. I think that being given time to develop skills in developing accessible resources is important. As often staff are not provided with this before they are asked to create a resource.These comments emphasise the relevance of institutional context in which teachingresources are produced and the impact that provision of resources or lack thereof has onthe capacity of teaching practitioners to fully engage with principles of accessibility whenAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 15
  • releasing their materials more openly. Other comments identified further issues related toacademic practices which can have an impact on OER-related accessibility concerns: I think issues in peoples lack of engagement with creating OERs is more to do with meeting copyright standards than accessibility concerns. Sharing informally is a successful culture that is effective and sharers simply dont see the point of the extra tasks. There is still quite a lot of concern about educational institutions being willing to share resources openly - I think we have a long way to go in terms of both OER widespread acceptance and accessibility as built-in features.The above quotes indicate accessibility issues should not be discussed in isolation frommore general academic attitudes which are not always conducive towards open sharing ofteaching resources. At the same time, it would be useful to draw on parallels withapproaches that have successfully been employed to encourage awareness of copyrightissues which begin to challenge the widespread academic practice of ignoring copyright andrelying on the false reassurance that it is irrelevant as long as a resource is used foreducational purposes.Finally, some comments have begun to describe what could be a more nuanced approachtowards addressing the complex issues involved in OER-related accessibility issues: we should all be producing multiple formats where possible, although we can never aspire to make all educational resources totally accessible to all as students have different skills and abilities and some resources just do not translate well and need a different approach. Being pragmatic and appreciating when the use of additional technologies or extra human support is required will always be part of the equation. Hopefully students can help by being willing to work around issues and academics and those supporting them can develop a better understanding of the barriers that exist at times.This approach acknowledges that addressing only one part of the accessibility equation,whether it is technology, provision of resources or attitudes of academics will not be aseffective as viewing accessibility in a more holistic way, where learners and resourcecreators collaborate to ensure that the teaching materials best meet relevant accessibilitycriteria. At the same time, the approach calls for pragmatism and a recognition that it isimpossible to produce a universally accessible resource, hence attention should be paid toproviding resources in formats which are easily customisable and adaptable to the needs ofAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 16
  • learners. In this context, the advantage of OERs lies in the fact that they are licensed in away which allows for easy re-use and customisation without being encumbered bycopyright restrictions.Conclusions and recommendationsThis report focused on the results of "Accessibility and OERs" survey which was undertakenas part of an investigation into factors which act as barriers and enablers regarding thecreation and re-use of accessible teaching resources which are openly shared online underCreative Commons licenses. The survey provided an overview of attitudes and approachesof education professionals towards accessibility issues in the context of Open EducationalResources, with the key issues and recommendations offered below: The responsibility for the provision of accessible OERs should not solely reside with resource creators. While it is vital to increase awareness of teaching professionals of OER-related accessibility issues, at the same time, there is a need to provide adequate support in terms of technical resources, relevant institutional policies as well as guidance from learning technologists and accessibility specialists as and when needed. There are a number of relatively simple strategies that could greatly enhance the accessibility of OERs, such as using of accessibility features embedded within software packages or addressing accessibility considerations within resource description and so resource creators should be encouraged to take advantage of these simple "fixes" The key accessibility features identified as most important by survey respondents include the provision of transcript for any audio/video material and ensuring that the resource is an easily customisable format There is a need to provide OER-related accessibility resources which address discipline specific issues alongside more generic resources which address the needs of teaching professionals who work in cross-disciplinary contexts There is a need to address accessibility features of platforms where OERs are deposited, and education repositories should be designed with accessibility in mind Accessibility issues are complex and should not be discussed in isolation from other OER-related issues such as copyright or academic practices related to sharing resources Finally, accessibility issues should be explicitly addressed within OER projects, such as UKOER programme; ideally, project managers should be encouraged to address accessibility issues within project documents and workpackagesAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 17
  • AcknowledgementsThe researcher would like to thank SCORE (Support Centre for Open Resources in Education)for their support and in particular Tim Seal. I would also like to express thanks to ChrisPegler for permission to reuse some of the questions used in ORIOLE survey (seehttp://orioleproject.blogspot.co.uk/).This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/. Please cite this work as: Gruszczynska, A(2012). Report from the "Accessibility and OERs [Open Educational Resources]" survey.Available from: http://bit.ly/oeraccessibilityAnna Gruszczynska, 2012. Licensed underCreative Commons Attribution Licensehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 18