Meeting the needs of disabled students through OER and OEP: insights from the OERH dataset
Meeting the needs of
through OER and OEP:
insights from the
Beatriz de los Arcos
The Open University, UK
Photo: CC BY Mark Morgan, https://flic.kr/p/eyggPf
Artwork: Rest in Pieces – South Carolina State Library CC-BY-NC
“To promote, protect and
ensure the full and equal
enjoyment of all human
rights and fundamental
freedoms by all persons
with disabilities, and to
promote respect for their
‘Persons with disabilities include
those who have long-term
physical, mental, intellectual or
sensory impairments which in
interaction with various barriers
may hinder their full and effective
participation in society on an
equal basis with others’.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities, Article 1.
Photo: Exclusion - Sandphin CC-BY
“… very few nations today have
acted to ensure that persons
with disabilities are part of [the]
OERH Survey Data: 7,000+ responses from 175 countries
11.3% of respondents declared a disability
Type of disability
Deaf / hard of hearing
Mental health problems
Long term illness/ chronic medical condition
I have adapted open educational resources
to fit my needs
I have created open educational resources
for study or teaching
I have created resources myself and
published them on an open license
I have added a resource to a repository 15.8% 15.3%
I have added comments to a repository
regarding the quality of a resource
I have added comments to a repository
suggesting ways of using a resource
Engagement with OER
Photo: Leigh-Anne Perryman CC-BY
Challenges of using OER
Overcoming technology problems when downloading resources*
Knowing where to find resources
Finding resources of sufficiently high quality
Finding resources that are relevant to my local context
Not being skilled enough to edit resources*
Not knowing whether I have permission to use or change a
Missing/needing the support of a tutor/teacher to help me
Increased satisfaction with
the learning experience
Gained confidence 56% 51.2%
Increased independence and
Improved grades 30.8% 40.6%
More likely to complete
Increased enthusiasm for
Perceived impact of OER on learning
• 35.9% of students with a disability report having tried
out OER before enrolling to study formally compared
with 28.9% of non-disabled students.
• 34.9% of students with a disability say they are more
likely to take a paid-for course after using OER
compared with 24.9% of non-disabled students.
• Look at resource types
being used and any
links with specific
• Involve disabled
people in our research
through case studies
• Compare experiences
of people with different
• Compare formal
Photo: Sign Language – arte.callajero CC-BY-NC-SA
I’m Leigh-Anne Perryman and this is Bea de los Arcos. We’re both from the UK Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology.
Our presentation reports the early stages of research into disabled students’ use of OER.
I want to start by explaining this artwork, which also tells a tale of resources. South Carolina Library was getting rid of all its talking books cassettes, moving them to MP3s available online and on flash drives, part of a nationwide move to digitize resources, driven by the Library of Congress. Students from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind have dedicated a piece of artwork to the Library of Congress entitled Rest in Pieces. The artwork consists of decommissioned cassettes and mailing containers on a background of Braille paper.
In 2006 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006).
The Convention entered into force in 2008.
Article 1 explains the purpose of the convention is “To promote… etc (on screen)
The convention does not explicitly define disability. Article 1 of the convention states… (on screen).
So, we see that disability results from an interaction between a non-inclusive society and individuals.
For example: Person using a wheelchair might have difficulties gaining employment not because of the wheelchair, but because there are environmental barriers such as inaccessible buses or staircases which impede access.
The Convention addresses both the risks of exclusion for disabled people that might arise from increasing use of ICTs, and the potential for ICT to help increase social, political and economic inclusion.
However, digital accessibility for disabled people is slow in being realised globally and despite the unprecedented growth in mobile and Internet use worldwide.
Indeed, the 2014 G3 ICT report observed that ‘very few nations today have acted to ensure that persons with disabilities are part of this technology revolution’ (ITU/G3ict, 2014, p. iii).
And access to ICT also means access to the benefits of open educational resources and practices.
B: V brief intro to the work of the hub. Survey data.
11% declare a disability, which is slightly higher than official data that around 10% of world’s population live with disability (United Nations)
B: In our sample, more women than men declare a disability; people declaring a disability are slightly older; respondents declaring a disability tend to be less qualified than those declaring no-disability; levels of full time employment higher in those without a disability.
B: Highlight mental health issues
B: There has been very little research on OER/OEP and disabilities, the road ahead is simply full of questions, so what can the OERH data tell us? We cant cover everything so here we will have a look at the differences in terms of engagement of OER, challenges and perceptions of impact on learning.
B: None of these are statistically significant. There isn’t much of a difference in engagement with OER: similar levels of adaptation, higher of creation and higher in terms of contributing comments on how to use resource –are these comments to do with how to make more accessible to disabled users? Research needed.
Only ‘Overcoming technology problems’ and ‘Not being skilled to edit resources’ are statistically significant. This fits with a broader picture of digital exclusion for disabled people.
Disabled students are slightly more satisfied and feel they have gained confidence, but this is not reflected in improved grades or being more independent and self-reliant. Likelihood to complete studies is similar, but again enthusiasm for future study is higher,
This higher enthusiasm for future study is interesting as….
35.9 students with a disability report trying out OER as university level content before enrolling to study formally compared to 28.9% of non-disabled students
Take a paid for course 34.9% vs 24.9%. This is relevant for universities and student uptake in relation to the adoption of OER.
Overall, we have only scratched the surface of the data
We don’t see a lot of huge differences in how disabled students interact with OER compared to non-disabled students but more research is needed if we are to fully understand the freedoms that OER and OEP might offer people with disabilities.
What next? This is just the beginning. The data can be explored in many ways…