Session 6 - Accessibility and Inclusive Design

@may20-cohort, we’re meeting tomorrow at 3:30pm ET on Zoom to begin our sessions around content: starting with accessibility and inclusive design. We’ll discuss what we mean by these terms, why they are important, and how you can keep them in mind with your project. Then we’ll continue on over the next few weeks with a deep-dive into authoring, editing, feedback and review.

Password details for the call are sent over Direct Message.

These are the resources we will refer to:

  1. Handout: Accessibility and Inclusive Design
  2. Slides: Accessibility and Inclusive Design

I’ll also note that tomorrow marks the halfway point when it comes to the course portion of the program. If you have any reflections on how the program is progressing so far, I’d love to hear them.

@may20-cohort we reached the halfway point with our sixth session this Tuesday on Accessibility and Inclusive Design. Do you have any feedback or suggestions for us to improve our remaining sessions? Or, do you have ideas for topics for us to tackle in our twelfth session on special topics? Let me know by replying below!

Questions and Comments

  1. @RobinArmstrong wondered why hyperlinks should ideally not open in a new window. Take a look at a discussion with the Feb. cohort on this topic.
  2. @poritzj & asked about the need for decorative elements in a book — are these necessary to engage students?
  3. @jenny.piazza wondered about writing alternative text for images, and how this task can effectively be accounted for and planned into project work.
  4. @wernerwestermannj suggested thinking about breaking up text into smaller more manageable units for more effective learning and easier adaptation.
  5. @w.j.palmer looked at possibilities to share units of text as created on a rolling basis — complete with necessary front matter and back matter.

Chat Transcript and Resources

Another quiet day for discussion in the chat transcript, with the following resources shared:

Lesson Recap

This session, we explained terms like accessibility, inclusive design, 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 readers, even if implemented measures are designed for those at the margins or in smaller groups. It’s about ensuring that what you are making, whether it’s a website, drawing, video, etc. can be used and understood by all people, regardless of location, language, context, tools, disability, or more. 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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 his or her full potential. Maha Bali said it best!
  3. 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.’

Take a look at the Inclusive Design Research Center for more resources, tools, and principles.

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. 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. 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. This work is often expensive, and in the case with All Rights Reserved materials, may need to be repeated from institution to institution. 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! Take a look at how we breakdown different accessibility tasks throughout the publishing process in the slides.