Making OER Accessible


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Designing online courseware so that it's accessible to all people is important. Accessible means usable by people who are blind or who have low vision, people with impaired mobility, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearning, people who are color-blind, people with a minimal command of the language, and people with a cognitive disability. Broadly speaking, different learning styles or even different learning preferences should be considered. This presentation highlights the key points of lesson 12 : "Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility" in the Online Course : Using #OER to Create K-12 Curriculum (

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Making OER Accessible

  1. 1. Making OER AccessibleJessie Chuangwww.classroom-aid.comLicense : CC BY-SAGraphic credit : Barbara Dieu
  2. 2. Universal Design for LearningUDL (Universal Design for Learning) principles helpeducators proactively design goals, methods, materials andassessment that address the full range of student variabilityin today’s learning environments.UDL is about:● Multiple means of representation, to give learnersvarious ways of acquiring information and knowledge● Multiple means of expression, to provide learnersalternatives for demonstrating what they know● Multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners’interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increasemotivation.
  3. 3. Assistive TechnologyAT (Assistive Technology) ensures that individual studentshave the tools they need to participate and learn inwhatever environments they find themselves.AT is about an individualized system of no tech, low tech,and high tech tools, strategies, and services that match astudent’s needs, abilities, environments and tasks.
  4. 4. Accessible Instructional MaterialsAIM (Accessible Instructional Materials) ensure access tothe content in educational materials used by all students.AIM means materials designed or enhanced to be usableacross the widest possible range of student variabilityregardless of format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video).AIM and AT are two sides of the same coin, AIM is thecontent and AT is the delivery system.Key take-away idea : Whenever possible, try to find anauthoring tool that promotes the creation of alternatives andpreferences.
  5. 5. Accessibility Principles● Perceivability: Content should be consumable● Understandability: Content should be plain and clearto comprehend● Operability: Interactions should be operable byeveryone● Robustness: Resources should be compatible withtools now and later(details : Inclusive Learning Design Handbook)TOOLS FOR EVALUATING ACCESSIBILITY :A complete list of Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools fromthe W3C
  6. 6. 3 Must-dos for Accessibility● Use semantic markup : e.g. styles of texts for titles andhighlights● Annotate non-textual items : tag images (alt textadded), caption audio & videos● Label tables and complex information​​​
  7. 7. 11 Basic Tips for Accessibility (1)● Provide alternative text (alt-text) for elements that arenot plain text, e.g., graphics, images, shapes, charts,and buttons. Alt-text should be succinct. It shouldexplain the purpose and function of the image / element(not just a description).● Provide synchronized captions for audio and video(including description of visual action, settings, bodylanguage, graphics and displayed text). Each piece ofmultimedia you use should have at least a summary orclosed captioning for those that are unable to fullyexperience it.● Provide user controls for playing audio and video.● Avoid blinking objects or text.● Avoid adding constantly moving objects or text.
  8. 8. 11 Basic Tips for Accessibility (2)● Any controls manipulated by a mouse must be able tobe manipulated by the keyboard.● Use more than just color to differentiate buttons (avoidred/green combinations which can be particularlydifficult for color-blind people to distinguish between).● Use colors that have sufficient contrast for readability.● Make sure that attached documents (e.g., PDF files)have been produced as accessible documents.● Link text should make sense out of context (avoid usingonly Click Here, Read More, Continue, or URLs unlessthey are descriptive and include relevant content).● HTML content is more accessible than other formats.Always test the accessibility of any content you add thatis in Flash, PDF, and Office document formats.
  9. 9. AttributionUniversal Design for Learning content is from National Centeron Universal Design for Learning ( and AIM information are from the presentation of Dr. JoyZabala.Accessibility principles are from the "Floe" Inclusive LearningDesign Handbook, produced by the Inclusive DesignResearch Centre at OCAD University.3 Must-Dos for accessibility are from Una Daly.11 basic tips for accessibility are from Knowledge Base ofdominKnow Inc.