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OpenEd17: The 14th Annual Open Education Conference
October 11 – 13, 2017  ::  Anaheim, CA

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Friday, October 13 • 1:00pm - 1:25pm
A Partnership for OER Accessibility: TBR and Lumen

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The advent of blended and online learning has increased access to education for students around the world, giving flexibility in time, pace, path, and place (Staker & Horn, 2012). Much has been said of the “digital divide” of access to Internet service between different socioeconomic groups, but there is also a digital divide between disabled and nondisabled people (Jaeger, 2012). The access rate for people with disabilities is only about half the rate of the general population (Dobransky & Hargittai, 2006). In response to the need for increased accessibility for students with disabilities, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) has instituted a strict adoption policy and a requirement for conformance and remediation of all instructional materials.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that institutions that receive federal funding make electronic and information technology materials accessible to people with disabilities. Beginning in January, 2018, the guidelines for Section 508 compliance will fall into alignment with the WCAG 2.0 level AA guidelines, which are the mid-range standards that deal with the biggest and most common barriers faced by people with disabilities in online environments and the use of technology. In 2016, TBR chose to take a proactive stance and began using WCAG 2.0 AA as its standard for conformance for accessibility. Based on the WCAG 2.0 AA standards, the accessibility specialists at TBR’s online TN eCampus developed an accessibility evaluation rubric for evaluating vendor products and material in its own online courses. This session will share the tool developed by TN eCampus as well as insights gained from its implementation with external vendor content as well as material developed by TN eCampus faculty.
While providing accessible materials means that all learners are equally able to access content in the same timeframe and with the same ease of use, the concept of open education promotes the notion that everyone should have access to high quality educational experiences and resources. In keeping with the spirit of both accessibility and open education as means of increasing student retention and increasing student success, in 2016 TBR and TN eCampus formed a partnership with Lumen Learning in which TBR and TN eCampus would share its expertise in accessibility with Lumen Learning’s developers and the Lumen Learning team would assist TN eCampus with an open education-focused pilot of OER course materials. Building on the promise of open education to provide solutions rather than just challenges, accessibility specialists at TN eCampus completed a detailed review of Lumen Learning OER course materials for accessibility and then partnered with Lumen Learning in a joint effort that made it possible for TBR and TN eCampus to adopt Lumen Learning’s Waymaker and Candela course materials while also helping to ensure that Lumen Learning’s content was accessible for all users, not just those at TBR and TN eCampus.
This presentation will share lessons learned from this collaboration, how a mindset of accessibility and open education thinking may go hand-in-hand, and strategies for others to form similarly collaborative partnerships for both mutual benefit and the greater good of students.

avatar for Kim Thanos

Kim Thanos

CEO, Lumen Learning

Friday October 13, 2017 1:00pm - 1:25pm
Terrace D - F
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