Open Educational Resources Community of Learning

Module 2: Accessibility

As instructors, we have legal and ethical obligations to ensure our courses are fully accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities. We use digital resources in our courses because we believe they enhance learning. However, unless carefully chosen with accessibility in mind, these resources can have the opposite effect for students with disabilities, creating barriers that make learning difficult or impossible.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, provide an international standard that defines accessibility of web-based resources. The principles of WCAG 2.0 are applicable to other digital assets as well, including software, video, and digital documents.

The Texas State Office of Disability Services. provides several resources to help support the creation of accessible learning materials, including Web Accessibility Guidelines.

There are also tools built into many content creation software tools. For example, there is a Check Accessibility button within the Canvas content editor.

 

Screenshot of Canvas page editor indicating the Check Accessibility tool.


 

While an in-depth discussion of Universal Design is outside of the scope of this course, learning about its principles may be beneficial when thinking about how to use or create OER. According to its creator, ​Ron Mace, "Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.​" Read more at the Center for Universal Design website.

Watch the video below for an introduction to Universal Design for Learning, or visit the Universal Design for Learning page on the Texas State ODS website.

 

Universal Design for Learning (Part 1): Definition and Explanation by Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at OU is licensed under CC-BY 2.0.

 

Additional resources: