Open Education Week 2022

Open Education Week

Open Education Week brings awareness to the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement and to the how OER transforms teaching and learning for instructors and students alike.

What is OER?

OER refers to open access, openly licensed instructional materials that are used for teaching, learning or research.

Why is OER Important?

OER provides free resources to institutions, teachers, and students. When incorporated into the classroom, OER can:

  • Lower the cost of education for students
  • Reinforce open pedagogy
    • Allow educators to update and adapt materials to fit their needs
    • Encourages students’ interaction with, and creation of, educational materials
  • Encourage open knowledge dissemination

OER Incentive Grant

The University is giving faculty an incentive to adopt, adapt, or create OER for their courses instead of using expensive materials. The OER Incentive Grants will fund faculty teaching undergraduate courses. Instructors can submit applications in three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Adopt – incorporate an existing open textbook into a course
  • Tier 2 Adapt – incorporate portions of multiple existing open textbooks, along with other freely available educational resources, modifications of existing open education materials/textbooks, or development of new open education materials
  • Tier 3: Create – write new openly licensed textbooks

The preferred deadline to submit a proposal is March 11th. If you are interested in submitting a grant but cannot make this deadline, please reach out to Sara Benson at srbenson@illinois.edu. To learn more about this program see the webpage on the Faculty OER Incentive Program.

Upcoming OER Publication

In conjunction with Sara Benson, copyright librarian at UIUC, and the Illinois Open Publishing Network (IOPN), co-authors Christy Bazan, Brandi Barnes, Ryan Santens, and Emily Verone will publish an OER textbook, titled Drug Use and Misuse: A Community Health Perspective. This book explores drug use and abuse through the lens of community health and the impact of drug use and abuse on community health. Drug Use and Misuse is the third publication in IOPN’s Windsor & Downs Press OPN Textbook series. See the video below to learn more about the process of creating this textbook.

Making Your Work Accessible Online

A person uses a braille reader

Unsplash @Sigmund

What is Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility is the ability for individuals with vision, hearing, cognitive, and mobility disabilities to access web content online via their preferred methods.

WCAG defines web content as:

  • Natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • Code or markup that defines structure, presentation, etc.

The essential components of web accessibility include:

  • Content
  • Web browsers
  • Assistive Technology
  • Users’ Experience
  • Developers
  • Authoring Tools
  • Evaluation Tools

Why It Matters

Individuals with disabilities not only use the web but also contribute to its functions. Website accessibility focuses on the needs of people with disabilities. However, by considering how to make information more available, interactive, and easy to use, we also make content more accessible for everyone.

A website that uses best practices for accessibility provides equitable access and opportunities to all its users, creates a great user experience, increases website interaction (multi-modal interaction), and enhances the overall usability of the site.

Introducing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The WCAG developed out of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (WC3) mission of developing international standards for the continued development of the web and the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative’s (WAI) mission to gather people from varying organizations to create guidelines and resources for people with disabilities.

The WCAG create “a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments” worldwide.

The WCAG has four accessibility principles, which forms the acronym, POUR:

  • Principle 1: Perceivable
    • The information and methods of interacting with hardware and software must be presented in ways that users can perceive. Examples include having text alternatives and using captioning in videos.
  • Principle 2: Operable
    • The hardware and software elements and navigation must be practical for users. Examples include ensuring keyboard accessibility and allowing users enough time to read and understand content.
  • Principle 3: Understandable
    • The information and the operation of hardware and software must be readable and understandable for users. Examples include ensuring that the text is easy to read and retaining the same style of program selections on different pages.
  • Principle 4: Robust
    • The content must have high compatibility so it can be interpreted by a variety of software used to access the web, including assistive technologies. Examples include parsing, that is, ensuring that html elements have start and end tags and screen readers.

Tips: Validate the accessibility of your website using these tools: Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List

What has the University of Illinois Done to Meet these Standards?

University of Illinois web developers adhere to these web accessibility standards:

  • The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA)
  • Section 508 of the Reauthorized Rehabilitation Act of 1998
  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Main Library provides technological assistance via:

  • Hardware
    • Large Screen Monitors and Adjustable Tables
    • Clearview+ Magnification System
    • Braille Display
    • Tranquility Kits
  • Software
    • JAWS (Job Access With Speech)
    • Kurzweil 3000
    • ZoomText Magnifier/Reader
    • OpenBook
    • Dolphin EasyReader
    • OpenDyslexie

Please see Accessibility and Assistive Technology LibGuide for more information.

If you are interested in learning more about web accessibility and the WCAG, visit the WCAG website: https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/wcag/