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Accessibility and Your OER Project

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA, 2005) it is your responsibility, as a publisher of educational content to ensure that your book meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 accessibility criteria.

What material needs to be made accessible?

All educational content needs to be made accessible. Text-based web documents, quizzes, audio, video, images, H5P interactives, any kind of educational content and its components all need to adhere to universal design principles and consider users of all abilities and how they access materials.

What kind of accessibility statement needs to accompany an open textbook?

You may consider including an accessibility statement on how to request another format on the landing page to your book.

How can I make sure that my OER maintains accessibility guidelines during collaborative tasks such as revisions?

It is a good practice to discuss editorial changes with accessibility in mind, sharing existing guidelines and original project documentation and goals with your project team. New images added will need to have alt text, new sections will need to have a proper heading structure etc. It’s important to maintain the quality of your open textbook as it’s being revised.

Who is responsible for making reused open textbooks accessible?

Institutions that choose to reuse materials created elsewhere and put them in their own course websites take on the responsibility of making this content accessible to their own users.

What kind of toolkits are there to guide me through this process?

This BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit is an excellent resources and provides tips on accessibility throughout the authoring process outlining best practices of how to incorporate multimedia materials, resource template considerations and test a sample chapter for keyboard accessibility, any instructional content and reading navigation order. It addresses principles of universal design and provides best practices related to:

  • Organizing your content
  • Tagging images
  • Embedding web links
  • Incorporating multimedia
  • Making formulas accessible
  • Ensuring font size and contrast ration meet accessibility criteria


This section was adapted from Accessibility in the Open Textbook Toolkit by University of Toronto Online Learning, licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Accessibility Checklist

Use this checklist developed by the Learning Technology Liaisons to assist you with ensuring your OER is accessible. If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact the eLearning Liaison.