Session 6: Accessibility and Inclusive Design

Hey there @jan24-cohort ,

Reminder that we’ll be meeting tomorrow, Thursday February 22, at 11am-12:30pm for our next session: Accessibility and Inclusive Design.

Here’s the Zoom link: [Launch Meeting - Zoom]

See you tomorrow!

Hey @jan24-cohort ,

Thanks for a great session! As usual, here’s the chat transcript. We had a lot of great discussion this week around accessibility, inclusive design, and how to apply these concepts to your OER projects and workflows. In the words of Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha in their book Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice:

“When access is centralized at the beginning of every action or event, that is radical love.”

Below you’ll find a recap of the session and the homework activities for Week 6.


Accessibility is often thought about as just being for students with disabilities, but as we see it, accessibility benefits all. It’s about reframing accessibility as a proactive approach to designing inclusive teaching resources and experiences which are rooted in principles of care, humility, and social justice. Inclusive design, or the practice of inclusivity, is the belief that the design of a “thing” – whether it is a piece of technology, an activity, or even information itself – should be mindful of a broad range of users, their variable abilities, their variety of environments, situations, and contexts.

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 designed with the human users in mind. In this way. we will think of technical accessibility, content accessibility, and even how this can extend into the accessibility of your human teaching interactions.

While no teaching technique or practice will ever be universally accessible for all, an inclusive education lens can be integrated into any and all approaches as long as you think about accessibility as an ongoing process that has you repeatedly cycle through the following three stages:

(1) Anticipating barriers and (2) finding ways to mediate these barriers (3) to enhance access for all.

We took a look at examples for the three dimensions of accessibility, namely:

  1. Technical Dimension:
  • BCcampus Accessibility Toolkit as a guide to help non-technical users make content accessible, including images, links, tables, multimedia, formulas, font size.
  • Accessibility Assessment To communicate to your users the results of an assessment undertaken towards the end of completing an OER.
  1. Content dimension:
  • Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies chapter 5 communicates outcomes and aligns the Iearning activities with the written content. As you will clearly see, the content Is informed by different social and cultural perspectives.
  • Business Writing for Everyone offers flexibility within every chapter, explaining to readers key takeaways and different methods to read the resource.
  1. Human dimension:
  • Building Democracy for All The introduction to this text will show you how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles have informed its design and Active Learning opportunities were incorporated to further engage the learners in unique ways.
  • Students and instructor users in the course/material/program evaluation and development processes, e.g. through adoption and user feedback surveys.

With forethought and flexibility, accessibility is built into the process of publishing. Try not to be overwhelmed. Take small steps because these small steps will go a long way. And remember you are uniting your efforts with other people within your teams, within this cohort, within your institutions or beyond. If everyone chips away at a small task, you’ll bring the resource leaps ahead. Ultimately, it’s about giving your resource the best chance to make an impact and difference for people.

Many of you noted that accessibility tends to make y’all more nervous than excited because you don’t want to exclude anyone. A reminder that none of you are doing this alone, and as @emily.frank mentioned in session, “we never reach the “finish line” with accessibility but that is because we can improving, enhancing, learning more”. Each one of you is thinking about the end results for your students in terms of each dimension of accessibility - so fear not, you’re all in a really good spot!

Reminder, there won’t be a session next week, so I’ll see you all on March 7 for our next session on Content Creation!