Fellowship report -OERs and accessibility issues Anna Gruszczynska Sheffield Hallam University
The story so far...- Started off with the aim of exploring the visual aspects ofOERs - changed track and became much more interested inaccessibility issues- The revised project examines approaches to accessibilitywithin UKOER programme as well as barriers andenablers to embedding accessibility within OERs- Accessibility refers to the ability of web-based resources tobe viewed, navigated and read by everyone, includinglearners with additional needs, which may be due to auditory,visual, mobility, and/or cognitive impairments- The ethos of open education and open access emphasisesthe need to widen access and remove educational barriers,including any barriers related to accessibility
Good intentionsScoping exercise: review of UKOER1 (29 projects)and UKOER2 (23 projects) plans and final reports – accessibility was rarely mentioned or incorporated within the project workflow, usually as an afterthought, resulting in costly retrofitting – if addressed at all, accessibility was frequently positioned within the realm of good intentions which were frequently thwarted by lack of necessary resources in terms of staff time or project funding
Expert interviews- "perfectly accessible" resource does notexist - necessary to negotiate learnerexpectations and provide for user preferences asmuch as possible- bottom-up approach preferable to theimpossible task of controlling resources centrally- there is a need to ensure that creators areusing metadata accurately so that it is easy tolocate accessible practices- another solution would be to rely on socialnetworking tools to flag up resources which areaccessible- "openness allows you to find something thatisnt inaccessible"
Accessibility and OERs survey- Targeted education professionals - 94respondents- Majority based in the UK and involved inteaching and research within higher educationsector- Approximately half have worked on an OERproject in the past three years- Full report available fromhttp://oeraccessibility.pbworks.com
Embedding accessibility within OER initiatives (2)– 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– 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.
Importance of accessibility featuresWhen searching for Factors influencing theresources choice of resource1. easily available 1. clear description which alternative file formats indicated accessibility2. ability to customise features settings 2. recommendation from3. transcript colleagueWhen designing resources 3. endorsement by a1. transcript specialist body (such as JISC TechDis)2. ability to customise settings3. easily available alternative file formats
Conclusions (1)- There are a number of relatively simplestrategies that could greatly enhance theaccessibility of OERs- There is a need to address accessibilityfeatures of platforms where OERs aredeposited- Resource creators should use metadataaccurately so that it is easy to locate accessiblepractices
Conclusions (2)- Responsibility for ensuring the accessibility ofOERs should not be seen solely as that ofresource creators - there is a need to provideadequate support and resources- Accessibility issues are complex and shouldnot be discussed in isolation from other OER-related issues such as copyright or academicpractices related to sharing resources- Accessibility issues should be explicitlyaddressed within UKOER projects
Comments? Questions?- You can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org- For more information, please visithttp://oeraccessibility.pbworks.com/- And finally, watch out for the ACTOER(Accessibility Challenges and Techniques forOpen Educational Resources) JISCTechDisproject http://actoer.referata.com
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