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OpenEd 2019: Accessible & Adaptive Digital Learning Environment for OERs


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

12:00PM – 1:00PM GMT


OpenEd 2019, Phoenix, AZ


Boris Goldowsky, Luis Perez and Lynn McCormack, CAST


Slides: Accessible &  Adaptive Digital Learning Environment for OERs


The presence of technology in classrooms holds promise for creating more accessible learning environments for students with disabilities, but is this promise being delivered? Materials that are “born-digital” may not be “born-accessible.” We are in the second year of a 5-year effort to create a suite of innovative open-source tools that harness the power of technology to support the diverse needs of today’s learners. We use the capacity of technology to provide not just accessibility, but also learning supports, scaffolds, and adaptivity based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning, to create equitable and improved learning opportunities for all (Meyer, Rose & Gordon 2014).

We are building a learning environment that encourages students to explore varying settings, supports, and scaffolds to understand how they learn best. Our tools store these preferences and adapt them to guide ongoing learning. We are also focusing on helping educators create accessible content by developing authoring systems that make creating accessible materials easier and provide supports for creating materials that address the needs of all learners.  By enabling the creation of materials that are accessible from the start and providing learners with the options and supports they need, our tools can help fulfill the potential for open resources to be truly accessible, inclusive, and equitable.

In this hands-on session, participants will be introduced to a beta release of one of our tools, accessing OER resources that can be incorporated into instructional practice. Participants will hear a brief overview of the project and have time try out the tool. Participants will leave this session with a deeper understanding of :

  • the importance of ensuring the accessibility of OER materials

  • how to find and create digital materials that meet diverse needs

  • what features to look for in learner-centered digital environments


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