Accessibility issues in the context of uk open educational resources programme


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This presentation was delivered at the 2011 ALT-C conference.

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  • addressing accessibility issues took up a significant chunk of partners’ time and resources devoted to the project (Pearce, 2010).
  • could be embraced as liberating and empowering for the learners as it
  • palpable sense of an engaged community which incorporates all project teams involved within the programme, interested scholars, bloggers and consultants and to an extent the wider international OER community. As mentioned earlier, the use of the CoP term is widespread by those involved in the UK OER programme. The term is applied to embrace a very diverse body of stakeholders from different backgrounds (higher/further education institutions, subject centres, professional associations, the student body) involved in the joint enterprise of developing open educational resources and exploring the meanings of openness (Chin, 2010; Tiedau, 2010).
  • Accessibility issues in the context of uk open educational resources programme

    1. 1. Accessibility issues in the contextof UK Open Educational ResourcesprogrammeAnna Gruszczynska, C-SAP (Higher Education Academy SubjectCentre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics)
    2. 2. Overview• OER-specific accessibility issues• Approaches to accessibility in the context of UK OER pilot phase programme (analysis of reports and other artefacts)• Making a case for accessible OERs?• Recommendations
    3. 3. OER-specific accessibilityissues (1)Creation• Unknown the context of the users of the resource - potentially, OER creators represent a vast spectrum from academics to informal learnersRepurposing• Issues with quality control as an open resource could be repurposed in a way which renders it inaccessibleDepositing• Past the point of the deposit it is impossible to control the environment in which the resource is downloaded, re-used or re-purposed.
    4. 4. Accessibility in UKOER pilotphase (1)Accessibility issues were mentioned already within the funding call for the pilot phase:• [A]ll resources including the project web site [should] meet good practice standards and guidelines pertaining to the media in which they are produced, for example HTML resources should be produced to W3C html 4.01 strict ( ) and use W3C WAI guidelines to double A conformance ( Further advice and guidance is available from the JISC TechDis Service (HEA/JISC, 2008).
    5. 5. Accessibility in UKOER pilotphase (2)• Not explicitly mentioned within the OER Programme Technical Requirements which focus on content, metadata and delivery platform standards (Campbell, 2009) ).• Not addressed with regard to depositing resources into JorumOpen and the repository platform interface has not been tested for any accessibility standards (Siminson, 2010).• Mentioned within the OER infokit, a wiki-based resource produced on the basis of pilot phase project outputs
    6. 6. Accessibility in UKOER pilotphase (3)• Accessibility as an afterthought and a labour- intensive element of the OER workflow• Accessibility positioned as aspirational only due to cost involved: • One lessoned learn was the cost of producing transcripts to accompany audio and video files and the cost of close captioning. Transcripts and close captioning fall within best practice for accessibility. Quotes received from prospective service providers were prohibitively high and this work was not possible under the allocated budget (Savoia, 2010).
    7. 7. Accessibility in UKOER pilotphase (4)• Issues around terminology: focus on accessibility understood as “open access”, that is, resources which are open and free at point of use.• Issues around academic practice: fear that materials are not “good enough”; lack of time, “all or nothing” perception of accessibility• Positive examples of relying on Accessibility Passport/ Xerte Online toolkits• Need to explore factors which might motivate OER creators and re-users to embed accessibility within their teaching materials for developing accessible OERs.
    8. 8. Barriers and enablers to accessibleOERs: business caseParallel discussions – barriers and enablers for open education• Institutions will invest in developing accessibility- related infrastructure, skills and knowledge if they believe this will increase their competitiveness on the market• Business case for Open Educational resources assumes that these materials will allow the institution to showcase high quality teaching resources and thus potentially increase its reputation• Within that model, OEREs are a more cost-efficient approach to producing teaching materials
    9. 9. Barriers and enablers toaccessible OERs: The power of theopen?• Ethos of open education emphasises removing barriers to educational resources• Lack of control over the resource after release offers the possibility to deliver customisable teaching materials, adapted to the needs of individual learners• CC-licensed materials can be transformed into alternate formats more easily than materials published under all rights reserved copyright – no need to incur extra permission costs for adaptations• Open education movement provides free access to courses, curricula and pedagogical approaches not available locally – by extension this might apply to positive approaches towards accessibility
    10. 10. UKOER2: Communities of(accessible) practice?I would like to compile a separate “story” of accessibility issues raised and tackled by each project to feed back into the final reporting processes as we go (...). With this in mind I would initially recommend that when you update the programme through your personal / project blogs, please use the tags “accessibility” + “ukoer” (and similar hashtags in twitter; #accessibility + #ukoer) to enable me to gather them. I would like you to add me to your social networks and share experience back to the OER programme (McAndrew, 2010).
    11. 11. Recommendations• Produce OER-specific guidelines on producing, repurposing and depositing open educational resources alongside JISC TechDis guidance to best practices in creating accessible teaching materials• Promote tools such as the Accessibility Passport and the Xerte Online Toolkit• As part of awareness-raising, develop case studies including actual model examples of accessible resources in order to illustrate ways in which the needs of diverse types of learners and users of OERs can be met
    12. 12. Thank you!• Questions? Comments?