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Accessibility: Support for OER Phase II projects. Terry McAndrew TW: terrymc. Outline. Identifying the problem(s) Discussing issues Finding solutions Establishing support network. Icebreaker. Form into pairs with someone you do not know well

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Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

Accessibility: Support for OER Phase II projects

Terry McAndrew

TW: terrymc

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects


  • Identifying the problem(s)

  • Discussing issues

  • Finding solutions

  • Establishing support network


Form into pairs with someone you do not know well

Decide which of you is A and which is B (if you have limited verbal communication you should be ‘A’)

A – You have no spoken or written language skills. You can ‘sign’ (not by drawing out letters). If you know Sign Language please sit on your hands!

B – you have 30 seconds to discover A’s mother’s first name.


30 second timer
30 Second Timer


Courtesy of

The point
The Point?

Without any adjustments or forewarning, learning experiences or assessments can leave students completely stuck, disabled students even more so.

How did it feel?

If the ‘A’s had been forewarned of this activity, they could have prepared better or created assistive aids/resources.

What could they have done to prepare? What assistive aids could they have used?

Models of disability
Models of Disability

Medical model:

disabled people are seen as a problem. They should change their behaviour to fit with society, perhaps with tools. Disability is defined by functional (medical) deficiency.

Social model:

developed by disabled - a disability is caused by the way society is organised and the barriers this creates. This discriminates against, and excludes, people with impairments.

Value for money
Value for money?

Medical Model

Social Model

You are dyslexic so we’ll supply you with software X. You are visually impaired so you get software Y. We can’t afford many licences but you can borrow a laptop or work in Resource Room R11

Free and open source resources are promoted to all learners; these offer support anywhere to anyone. If you need more support we’ll top up with commercial tools. All texts are available in electronic format via an e-library


Medical model

Social model

You are dyslexic or hearing impaired so we’ll pay for a scribe to take notes for you in lectures. We can’t guarantee they’ll know the subject, understand the topic or even spell the terms to make sensible notes, but at least we’ve met our duty to support you.

All tutor notes / presentations etc for all lessons are available on the learning platform. You can choose to print them out beforehand or afterwards. We use lectures to consolidate understanding rather than practice speedwriting…

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

Activity 1: The Negative Brainstorm

Working in teams - You have to ensure your project output is inaccessible to as many groups as possible

Identify group (disability, role, ethnic group etc.)

Identify what you can do for each to ensure product is really useless (bonus for subtlety)

Don’t worry about being offensive – no holds barred and as many categories of users as possible

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

Activity 2: The Reverse Brainstorm

Working in teams - You have to fix the problems developed by the previous team’s effort

What are your solutions?

What do you need (generic) to fix the problem?

How can you obtain it?

What can you do to help other projects with similar problems before they finish?

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

Activity 3: Discussion

  • What works best?

    • Novel problems?

    • Cunning solutions?

    • Sustainable?

    • Strategies?

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

Risk Reduction Approach

Risk Reduction approach to reduce your legal exposure AND make better learning experience.

Face issues, consider scenarios (user types)

Celebrate strengths, Signpost issues for users (adopters, adapters and students) and the E&S programme

‘Backoffice’ must also be accessible

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

Risk Reduction Approach

Celebrate ignorance with collaboration: Be unafraid to share your ignorance and well as your strengths.

Document decisions (compromises) in your logs (quality, sustainability, evaluation etc.) Include blog reflections.

Active engagement in accessibility improves usability and flexibility

Holistic approach to accessibility

We believe it is best practice to take a holistic approach to accessibility

Do not be afraid to add value in different ways for different learners – everybody doesn’t have to access the same information in the same way, as long as the learning outcomes are met and the experience is broadly equivalent.

Broadening the range of what is offered will increase accessibility overall, despite specific barriers that may arise.

Holistic Approach to Accessibility

Accessibility in phase 1 2

Phase 1 E&S Wiki has no specific action plan for accessibility in phase 2

Solutions are project specific and should show evidence of awareness of risks and have a plan to mitigate them.

Highlight issues in quality, evaluation and sustainability plans

Suggest considerations for future work

Accessibility in Phase 1 & 2

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

New JISCTechdis website accessibility in phase 2

Launches early Feb 2011

Improved navigation

Improved search

Help us to help you and your communities

Accessibility support for oer phase ii projects

What OER can do for us accessibility in phase 2

Give details of your processes, successes and failures for us to disseminate (anonymously if reqd) on your behalf.

We would like to hear about where your inclusive approach SAVED time and resources so we can share it with others

Online accessibility self evaluation service oases
Online Accessibility accessibility in phase 2Self Evaluation Service OASES

  • Each session consists of an introduction to the benefits of self assessment and benchmarking in this area, followed by completion of a survey of practice and ultimately the sharing of anonymised results across the group.

  • So far reactions have included:

    • “Helped identify what we tackle next”

    • “Showed we weren’t as bad as I thought”

Creating accessible learning materials xerte
Creating Accessible Learning Materials: Xerte accessibility in phase 2

Xerte: a free, Open Source tool for creating Accessible materials (course content, library tutorials, ‘how to’ guides for catalogues or data management systems…)

Easy to use ‘Getting Started’ guides at

Have a play, create your own objects in the JISC TechDis sandbox

Sandbox accounts wiped monthly, so anything to be kept should be exported to your PC and imported again if you need to work on them again.

If you like it, install on your servers – no wiping!

Know when you are beat
Know when you are beat! accessibility in phase 2

  • Call on existing tools, don’t invent a new ones

    • Lots of free tools to support your project through JISC Techdis

    • Share experience on those tools used, how they worked in testing, and your decisions e.g. Captivate vsScreenr, vs as you go.

      • Use blogs and tweets with #techdis AND #ukoer

  • Experience disability through testing and record process

    • User testing is expensive but valuable

    • Simdis (simulator)

    • Watchwords (Deaf awareness for teachers)

Publishing reports
Publishing Reports accessibility in phase 2

  • Use Styles to structure document

  • Annotate diagrams

  • Use metadata, TOC, Index tools

  • Provide additional PDF copy (MS-word conversion OK)

  • Consider ePub format to facilitate more devices

Keep in touch
Keep in touch accessibility in phase 2

Available 0.5 FTE


  • terrymc on twitter

  • Suggest bookmarks (jisctechdis, techdis, tmcandrew on delicious)

  • Other means?

  • Constructive criticism welcome!

Credits accessibility in phase 2

Items included within this presentation courtesy of Dr Simon Ball, Alistair McNaught & Techdis