This short guide to accessibility in OER provides links to sites that maintain up-to-date guides, tips, directions, and helpful tools for creating accessible materials.
Making your work accessible isn’t necessarily difficult; you just have to be mindful. If you design a resource with a multiple complicated elements (e.g., tables and columns), pay attention to the rules around those elements. You can also make various versions of a document or other resource that support different learning styles (for instance, students who need lots of pictures vs. students who must use text-readers). Of course, one of the main benefits of OERs is that you are not in this alone: you share your version, and someone else comes along and adds improvements that make it work for other types of students or situations!
Accessibility Resources for Creating Your Own Resources
- When you add a resource by copy-and-pasting into the Open Author editor, you can use the built in Accessibility Checker, which identifies potential issues, and prompts you to fix them. Brief instructions are in the #GoOpenVA Help Center, along with a link to a more lengthy, illustrated document on how to use the checker.
- Some downloadable short and illustrated guides for a few common issues can be found in these Accessibility Guides from Affordable Learning Georgia.
- A much more detailed guide is found in the OER Accessibility Toolkit from the University of British Columbia. This is most helpful when you have something unusual in your resource, or if you have a very specific question on how to handle a particular situation.
- An Accessibility Toolbar for those who use Microsoft Word comes from Vision Australia. It is free and can be easily downloaded. It will show up as a new option in Microsoft Word’s toolbar and allow you to check any Word document. Then it will guide you through fixing any problems. When you Need to Find Accessible Resources for Use in Your Own Creations
- Tips for Google docs can be found here, Make your document or presentation more accessible
- And finally, for those who like to know the “whys,” this information from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, "Open Educational Resources: Designing for All Learners"
Finding Accessible Materials to Use in Your Own Creations
- Open Washington provides a short self-paced course on OER, with one module devoted to locating and evaluating resources for accessibility.