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Open Educational Resources

A resource guide on Open Educational Resources

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Tin Man from Wizard of Oz reads: Rubrics and toolkit and guides, oh my!

Illustration by Frank Baum from The Wizard of Oz in the public domain modified by Jessica Ryan CC 0

Quick Tips

  • When using images, either describe the image within the surrounding text, or use alt text.

  • If an image is purely decorative and not necessary for comprehending the information, use " " in the alt text to let screen readers know they can skip the image.

  • Use contrasting colors rather than red/blue/green which all looks the same in black and white.


                              Examples of good and insufficient color contrast ratios

  •  Pop Quiz: Which link is more accessible?

  1. Click here for more information about OERs.

  2. Find out more information about OERs at

  3. More information about OERs is available online.

             The correct answer is #3

  • 12 point font should be used for most documents

  • 9 point font size is good for footnotes

  • Text should be able to be zoomed up to 200% on a website.

  • Make sure your text is in a logical reading order and don't skip heading levels (i.e. if your document/web page has Heading 4 it should also have Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3). Screen readers skip from heading to heading in order.

With gratitude for materials reused and adapted in this section of guide from  "Q&A webinar: Accessible OER and Inclusive Assistive Technology" by Dianne Chambers University of Notre Dame Australia hosted by Creative Commons.

Accessibility Tools

PAVE: Four steps to an accessible PDF. You can use PAVE to make your PDF documents accessible and to interpret conventional reader programs correctly. 

WebAim: WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: Paste a URL to see how accessible the website is, based on WebAim's ratings.

Evaluating Web Accessibility Overview: When developing or redesigning a website or web application, evaluate accessibility early and throughout the development process to identify accessibility problems early, when it is easier to address them.

Web AIM Contrast and Color Accessibility: Complete guide to all things color and contrast.

Color and Contrast: Very well done site for use, edification, or pure fancy and interest. A comprehensive guide for exploring and learning about the theory, science, and perception of color and contrast.

Caption This: Creating Efficiency in Audiovisual Accessibility Using Automatic Speech Recognition Toolkit

Accessibility Resources

The accessibility of OER is an important factor to consider, especially in light of the online nature of most OER. Information about creating and evaluating the accessibility of OER is listed below:


Fundamentals of OER include DEIA goals and guiding principles. DEIA principles are baked into the philosophical movement of Open Access and Open Educational Resources and need to be confirmed and strengthened as we move forward.

Fundamentals of OA: diversity: increases diversity in content, form, and participants; equity: removes barriers for users and creators; inclusion: lifts up all voices, languages, regions, and points of view; accessibility: makes research and scholarship available and legible to all people regardless of disability or constraint.

Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance DEI: A guide for Campus Change Agents:

"[We support] the connection between OER and DEI through professional development that engages participants in topics such as accessibility assessment of instructional materials; localization and diversification of course content; involvement of students in content development and evaluation (i.e., open pedagogy); curriculum assessment for bias, inclusivity, and relevance to students; and implementation of culturally responsive pedagogy. These are topics at the core of both OER and DEI since both initiatives aim to create more equitable and inclusive learning experiences, deepen student learning, and close equity gaps for students from groups that are underserved by higher education. Campus units, such as centers for teaching and learning, that already have recognized training schedules and programs are key partners in this work.

Examples of tools used in professional development training in this domain include:

The Peralta Online Equity Rubric (Peralta Community College District, 2020)

DOERS3 Equity Through OER Rubric (DOERS3, 2021a)

ISKME Identifying Bias Tool (ISKME, 2021b)

ISKME STEM Accessibility Framework and Guide (ISKME, 2021a)

OpenStax Guidelines for Improving Representation and Diversity in OER Materials (OpenStax, 2019)

Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard (NYU Metro Center, 2019)"

From pp 16-17 of Leveraging Open Educational Resources to Advance DEI: A guide for Campus Change Agents, by C. Edward Watson, Lisa Petrifies, Anastasia Karaglani, Selena Burns, and Judith Sebesta, licensed under CC BY NC SA

Making Ripples: A Guidebook to Challenge Status Quo in OER Creation: a short resource designed to expand your understanding of inequities in the educational systems through breaking down the work into smaller pieces with opportunities for you to reflect, identify strategies for action, and locate resources and community members to connect with. The purpose of this guide is to explore strategies for you as OER creators to incorporate equitable practices into your workflows.