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Vol. 1 No. 1 (2022): Journal of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education

Conversations With Open Textbook Authors: The Factors That Help and Hinder Accessibility

June 1, 2022


For open education resources (OER) to be truly within the reach of all who want or need them, they must be made accessible to disabled learners, which is often a time- and resource-intensive endeavor. This study involved semi-structured interviews with the creators of eight accessible open textbooks identified during a previous research project. A handful of themes emerged that illuminated several common resources and barriers these authors, and their allies, faced in trying to ensure their works were accessible to disabled learners. Accessible open textbooks rely on diverse teams of experts and advocates, funding and access to resources, and a supportive institution or scholarly community. Conversely, a lack of both time and access to or familiarity with easy-to-use technology and tools for making content accessible, as well as long-term staffing and continued maintenance issues, created challenges. These findings highlight the ways in which academic institutions, funders, and open education proponents might support faculty authors of OER struggling with accessibility, such as by providing funding and resources, and by advocating for more robust platforms and tools.


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