OER and accessibility
Dr Shirley Evans
JISC TechDis Associate
• Barriers – discussion
• Examples from OER projects
• Examples from other projects
• Solutions - discussion
• Guidelines to help you
• Tools to help you
• Any questions please?
Leading on Inclusive Practice
The JISC TechDis Service
aims to be the leading educational
advisory service, working across the
UK, in the fields of accessibility and
Pragmatic advice and
guidance on accessibility
High quality resources,
tools and training.
Versatile and Responsive.
Meeting demands for training
and guidance and delivery of
sector wide solutions.
Partnership – supporting
cultural change and delivering
real “value added”
Embedding inclusive practice
•Recognition as the funded
provider for inclusion
•Keeping accessibility on the
•Reaching wider audiences
•Maximising the benefits of
Why are you interested in accessibility
What are the key barriers that stop all
OER materials being accessible?
Examples from OER Projects
• STEM OER Guidance Wiki
• Organising Open Educational Resources
(MEDEV with 17 UK partners)
Andy Beggan - University of Nottingham
• Xerte is an Open Source content creation tool that allows non-
technical staff to quickly and easily build rich, interactive and
engaging resources with high levels of accessibility already built in.
• JISC TechDis has worked closely with the University of Nottingham
to help evolve their product from an HE based development platform
to a popular teaching tool used extensively across a number of
• To the delight of both The University of Nottingham and JISC
TechDis, Xerte Online Toolkits has scooped first prize at the IMS
Global Learning Impact Awards 2010 in California.
• Link to youtube video with interactive transcript feature
Organising Open Educational Resources
(MEDEV with 17 UK partners)
HEA Subject Centre for Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Medicine
Megan Quentin-Baxter - Director
From the original proposal:
• Document metadata and standards/taxonomies and accessibility
requirements: Metadata/Workflow Toolkit.
• Identity and access management: Access to learning resources
including sensitive (clinical) materials for ethical or data protection
reasons. To include access from NHS environments and technical
‘accessibility’ considerations such as compatibility. Document
OOER Metadata/Workflow/Quality Assurance (QA) Tool
•OOER Metadata/Workflow/Quality Assurance (QA) Tool included links to
TechDis (http://www.techdis.ac.uk/), W3C/WAI (http://www.w3.org/WAI/) and the
JISC OER Phase 1 wiki on accessibility
•''Disability/Accessibility'’ questions from the tool:
• Have you tested the resource against the W3C accessibility guidelines? [link]
• [If Yes] Does it pass the W3C accessibility guidelines?
• [If No] Why does the resource fail to meet the W3C guidelines?
• [If No] Can the resource be easily modified to meet the W3C guidelines?
•''Technology'’ questions from the tool:
• Does the resource need to be: Installed/Hosted/Accessed by web/etc.
• Does the resource rely on an internal database (e.g. PHP/SQL data) to
• What browser plugins or downloadable software does the resource require
(e.g. Quick Time, Java, Flash)?
• Is the resource backwardly compatible i.e. will it run on legacy software (e.g.
• Is the resource accessible from behind a NHS firewall?
STEM OER Guidance wiki
Paul Chinn – University of Hull
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
This work constitutes a collection of guidance documents on all aspects of Open
Educational Resources (OER) prepared by the STEM project teams from a
number of Higher Education Academy/JISC OER pilot projects.
These projects ran from May 2009 to April 2010, and this guidance is based on
the teams' combined experiences working with practising academics over that
time, to explore the issues surrounding OER production and release.
STEM OER Guidance wiki
Examples from other Projects
• e-Book Accessibility Project
• HEAT Scheme
• In-Folio: An Open Source Portfolio for students with learning
• Funded to increase accessibility and inclusion through technology in
UK post-compulsory education.
• Work in many areas from guidance for teachers on using MS Word
more accessibly, or using podcasts or video; to guidance for
university managers on policy and strategy for inclusion.
• In-Folio is designed to be usable by all learners, disabled or not, to
allow simple login, upload and organisation of materials, and to be
accessible from any location to allow learners to maintain their
portfolio throughout their life
• Funding is being obtained to further develop In-
Folio as a result of user feedback.
• Current developments include:
• Training materials for parents, to help learners maintain and
develop their portfolio when away from school/college.
• User community and discussion boards.
• Learner progress application within In-Folio.
• Interest from Higher Education and Adult Learning
e-Book Accessibility Project
Outline of project
The project involved assessors
carrying out investigations with
aggregators and publishers to
establish how well e-book
platforms catered for disabled
Testing was anonymised to encourage
What the research showed
Table showing no. of actions required to open and read a
page of e-Book
Technology Best case (number of Worst case (number of
actions required) actions required)
Mouse access 3 8
Keyboard-only 11 170
Screen reader access 9 38 where possible but not
possible on some platforms
Voice control 4 8
E-book Accessibility Project
Encouragingly, accessibility is entirely
achievable. There were examples of
A composite platform with the best of
all the platforms tested would be very
close to an ideal system.
The HEAT scheme provides staff working in higher education (teaching staff, library
staff, careers officers, staff developers, IT specialists and accessibility or support
specialists) with technology with which to develop or uncover an aspect of good
inclusive practice. This may be specific to the teaching of a particular discipline,
supporting a specific role area, or may have more generic applicability across the
sector. Staff time is not funded, as the good practice developed is expected to form a
normal part of the routine of teaching and learning, supporting the inclusion model
where specific adjustments for disabled students are required less often if the
mainstream offering is more inclusively designed in the first instance.
Four rounds of the HEAT scheme have now been funded - the current round is
running in Wales only. In 2006-7 and 2007-8 the scheme was jointly funded by the
JISC TechDis service and the Higher Education Academy. In 2008-9 the scheme has
been funded by JISC's capital fund and extended to further projects in Wales and
Northern Ireland by the Higher Education Academy.
What accessibility challenges have you found and
how have you addressed them?
Guidelines to help you
• Towards Accessible e-Book Platforms
• Accessibility Essentials
• Accessibility Guidance for Technology Projects
Towards Accessible e-Book Platforms
• Find out about How We Did it and Why This Matters to
• Download Towards Accessible e-Book Platforms (PDF - 702
• Download Towards Accessible e-Book Platforms (accessible
version) (pdf - 157 KB)
1: Making Electronic Documents More Readable
2: Writing Accessible Electronic Documents with Microsoft®
3: Creating Accessible Presentations
4: Making the Most of PDFs
or order from
Accessibility Guidance for Technology
JISC TechDis have produced a series of videos outlining best
practice for staff involved in projects within their institution or
organisation. These videos will look at steps you can take to
maximise the outputs of your project, so that the audience can get
the most benefit from it, reducing the potential risks associated with
inaccessible resources, and how to improve communications.
The videos cover hints and tips to ensure that your projects outputs
are as accessible as possible at each step. In the first video Simon
Ball and Alistair McNaught, Senior Advisors at JISC TechDis,
introduce the series.
View the introduction to Accessibility Guidance for
Download the Introductory Video Transcript (MS Word - 33 KB)
Tools to help you
• Accessibility Toolbar
This application seeks to;
• Assist both users and developers in their understanding of an
approach to reviewing the accessibility of particular
• It also includes generic advice to enable the process to be
followed as applications will come and go but diversity of need
• It attempts to categorise the sites/applications according to
what tasks are to be attempted.
• To give providers a sense of which type of application have
“issues” for certain “difficulties”.
• Visit the Web2Access Site.
This free application can be installed on a website or
downloaded onto an individual PC, working seamlessly across
all operating systems to provide significant benefits for
everyone using the internet, especially those involved in
education or with a disability.
The toolbar can be installed
1) on your webpage (see http://www.techdis.ac.uk for an
example - the toolbar is at the top of the page)
2) on your computer - if you have administrator rights
3) as an active bookmark for use on specific web pages.
This is a resource which aims to support staff working across
a range of further and higher education contexts in identifying
areas of current strength and weakness in their practice in
terms of accessibility and inclusion.
The role groups it focuses upon are those which have been
identified by a range of JISC TechDis activities as being key
to facilitating an inclusive and accessible learner experience:
senior managers; library staff; IT/Network managers;
marketing managers; learning technologists and staff
developers; and disability / additional learning support
The JISC TechDis Online Accessibility Self Evaluation Service