In this session, we explained terms like accessibility, inclusive design, and remediation, and discussed how this all relates to open publishing and your OER creation project. Accessibility is often thought about as just being for students with disabilities, but as we see it, accessibility benefits all. It’s about ensuring that what you are making can be used and understood by all people, regardless of location, language, context, tools, disability, or more. It’s about reframing disability as a mismatch between an individuals’ requirements and a particular resource, product, or service. It’s about making sure everyone can have a part to play in making these resources. We can think of web accessibility, content accessibility, and even how this can extend into pedagogy.
Access is one of the fundamental principles of the open movement broadly. Given OERs’ digital-first nature, this is all the more relevant as resources should not only conform to web accessibility standards, but they should also be available for reading in offline and print formats. It’s also evident in the human aspect - of how you create and use OER. The Rebus approach to open publishing in particular is about opening up the opportunities for both creation and use to all people around the world, and being transparent about how it works so that anyone can replicate it. Remember that both accessibility and inclusive design is inextricably tied to equity — as we reframe what disability means and how accessibility/inclusive design approaches can meet these requirements (IDRC).
Inclusive design is about flexible solutions that provide people the space to create their own paths and meet their needs. The three core dimensions of inclusive design are:
- Recognize diversity and uniqueness - Understand that a one-solution-fits-all approach will not work, rather, there is more value to a flexible solution that users can adapt.
- Inclusive process and tools - Teams should include individuals who have a lived experience of the users the designs are intended for. Equitable creation is one where you promote just and fair inclusion throughout society and create the conditions in which everyone can participate, prosper, and reach theirfull potential. Maha Bali said it best!
- Broader beneficial impact - Designing not only to ensure that certain needs are met, but in a way that that design can benefit a larger group. This is what’s often called the ‘curb-cut effect.’
Working with a collaboratively developed process like ours ensures that community interests remain at the forefront, and that resources produced are ‘ready to use’ straight out of the box with little to no remediation required. Remediation is the work done to a text to make it accessible to a particular student or set of students. As part of our open publishing processes, we can minimize the amount of work needed to remediate a book for students by ensuring our books are accessible from the moment of publication. This doesn’t need to be a lot of work — in fact, much of it is already baked into the stages we’ve discussed so far! This intentional approach will lead not only to a more improved and impactful resource, but will change the way you use these materials with students.
Thanks to everyone for your great contributions to our discussion. Here is a link to the chat transcript.