Session Six Recap

Key Links:


When we think about the word “accessibility,” it’s often in a reactive sense of making sure that students with disabilities can access our materials, but as Rebus sees it, accessibility benefits all learners. We reframed accessibility as a proactive approach to designing inclusive teaching resources and experiences that 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, and their variety of environments, situations, and contexts.

Access is one of the fundamental principles of the open movement. 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 human users in mind. As you create your content, consider web accessibility, content accessibility, and even how inclusive design can extend into the accessibility of your teaching interactions with students.

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. We focused on three iterative stages of that process:

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

We looked at concrete examples for all three of accessibility dimensions in session.

1. Technical Dimension:

  1. BCcampus Accessibility Toolkit as a guide to help non-technical users make content accessible, including images, links, tables, multimedia, formulas, font size.
  2. Building a Medical Terminology Foundation We looked at Chapter 6 to see how alt. text for images and image descriptions are presented.
  3. Accessibility Assessment To communicate to your users the results of an assessment undertaken towards the end of completing an OER.

2. Content dimension:

  1. 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.
  2. Beginnings and Endings shows how student work can be incorporated into OER creation.

3. Human dimension:

  1. 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.
  2. Students and instructor users in the course/material/program evaluation and development processes, e.g. through adoption and user feedback surveys.

For some of you, this might be the first time you’re hearing about these concepts and considering them this deeply. It takes time to develop these skills, and it is a practice. Fortunately, our cohort has some members who already have extensive experience in inclusive and accessible design.

There is no expectation that you will immediately incorporate everything described in this session with the resources we shared. As a reminder, check with your grant organizer to see whether your grant includes accessibility stipulations. This will help you focus and put a plan in place for how you will meet the requirements.

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 that you are uniting your efforts with other people within your teams, within this cohort, within your institutions or beyond. Ultimately, it’s about giving your resource the best chance to make an impact for the widest possible audience.

Homework Activity

Please continue your team conversations around the accessible and inclusive design of your OER and work through the session activities [in handout linked above] when convenient.