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OpenEd 2019: Accessibility Metadata for OER Discovery and Creation


Friday, October 18, 2019

12:00PM – 1:00PM MT

Open Ed 2019, Phoenix, AZ

Lynn McCormack, CAST and Lisa Petrides, ISMKE


Poster presentation


As equity and inclusion are core goals of OER, it is clear that the accessibility of OER is an area that would benefit from being more deeply embedded in the practice and awareness-building of OER discovery and creation. This session will present a combination of the research and practice that has emerged out of a joint project between ISKME and CAST. The project has resulted in collaborative efforts to better define and enhance metadata descriptions for a controlled vocabulary that can be used in describing accessibility attributes of a resource. The session will look at research on accessibility metadata and its application, which shows a dearth of well-defined and understood metadata descriptions, and will present a metadata framework that can be used to consistently describe the accessible attributes needed in both the discovery and creation of OER.

While there are OER providers working to develop accessible OER, a metadata framework is needed to support and promote the discovery and usage of these materials. OER aligned to accessible metadata will improve the workflows of educators and librarians who often seek out these resources. Without a clearly defined metadata taxonomy applied to accessible OER, users will not be able to access the benefits of these materials.

Additionally, the session will highlight how the project is supporting the development of features that support accessibility in authoring materials, so that high-quality OER can either be born accessible or more easily retrofitted. The session will provide a short demo of OpenAuthor, including the recent addition of an accessibility checker to the WYSIWYG editor and an EPUB3 download option to produce braille-ready files. These tools, combined with clearly-understood metadata descriptions, are meant to make it easier for OER creators to assess and remediate their content and for users to access formats that will meet their needs.

It is clear that in order to level the playing field for all users, the accessibility of OER needs to be incorporated into that ethos until it becomes a native component of OER.

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