Equity in the Classroom: Ensuring Open Educational Resources (OER) Are Accessible to Everyone

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Virtual B on Thursday, November 12, 2020.



  • Erin Lucas, Sr Director of Digital Accessibility, RedShelf

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Many campuses are turning to Open Educational Resources (OER) during this period of rapid movement to online instruction—yet many of these materials may require alterations to ensure they are accessible to all. Join us as we dive into the role that OER is playing in today’s course materials strategy and how to ensure your OER is accessible to everyone.


Keeping accessibility at the forefront of educational decision making is more important than ever, particularly when it comes to course materials. Whether campuses are staying online in the near future (it’s estimated that post-pandemic, the online learning sector will grow at twice the previous rate) or having a long-term administration mandate for course materials affordability, Open Educational Resources (OER) will continue to grow in popularity. Yet even the most widely used OER materials are not born accessible and create inequities for some students.

While seemingly a good alternative for faculty to curate content to create coursepacks — as a supplement to publisher materials, or as a cost cutting option — OER can place an additional burden on Disability Services Offices (DSOs) for remediation or accommodation support if they are not accessible. On the flip-side, accessible OER can be freely shared, and can be revised and remixed to fit a particular course or teaching style, which also provides the ability to ensure they are accessible.

During this session we’ll discuss what roles various campus personnel play in the adoption, creation, and distribution of accessible OER. Attendees will be able to understand the different types of OER, the impact of inaccessible OER, and how using born accessible methods of creating OER is beneficial for everyone.


  1. Discuss key roles in the adoption and/or creation of OER on your campus
  2. Learn how digital accessibility impacts OER and faculty-created course materials
  3. Introductions to tools for creating and validating born accessible OER (Word to EPUB, DAISY ACE & SMART, EPUBTest)

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, EPUB Track, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Erin Lucas

My role as Head of Digital Accessibility at Red Shelf is to ensure our digital products exceed expectations for our ALL customers and partners. As a key component of our product team, my team supports the implementation of an accessibility-first Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), as well as accessibility testing procedures, policies, and remediation plans. We are also the liaison for campus accessibility offices when they need support for their students.

Prior to coming to Red Shelf, I spent 20+ years in the Federal Government IT sector (15 of those years at the Department of Defense), coordinating Section 508 compliance and ensuring design consistency and usability for contractor-developed government software and websites. I’m also a certified DHS Trusted Tester, a program which enforces a code-inspection based test approach for determining software and website conformance to Section 508 standards.