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About the Toolkit

This is one of many support guides from BCcampus Open Education. It is designed to supplement our main resource, the Self-Publishing Guide.

The Accessibility Toolkit is a collaboration between BCcampus and the Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources BC (CAPER-BC). BCcampus is a publicly funded organization that uses information technology to connect the expertise, programs, and resources of all B.C. post-secondary institutions under a collaborative service-delivery framework. BCcampus is the lead organization for the open textbook project in B.C. CAPER-BC provides accessible learning and teaching materials to students and instructors who cannot use conventional print materials because of disabilities.

The Accessibility Toolkit has also been translated into French: La Trousse d’outils d’accessibilité

About BCcampus Open Education

The Accessibility Toolkit was created by BCcampus Open Education. BCcampus Open Education began in 2012 with the goal of making post-secondary education in British Columbia more accessible by reducing student cost through the use of openly-licensed textbooks. BCcampus Open Education is funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training and the Hewlett Foundation.

We consider this publication — along with our guides, webinar slide decks, and other support materials — a type of open educational resource (OER). OER are defined as teaching, learning, and research resources that, through permissions granted by their creator, allows others to use, distribute, keep, or make changes to them. BCcampus Open Education views its support resources as openly-licensed educational tools that train the trainer — typically faculty and staff — on how to build, customize, and use open textbooks.

Our open textbooks are openly licensed using a Creative Commons licence, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge, or as printed books that are available at cost.  For more information about this project, please contact helpdesk@bccampus.ca. If you are an instructor who is using this book for a course, please let us know by filling out our Open Textbook Adoption Form.

What is an open textbook?

Open textbooks are open educational resources (OER), which are instructional resources created and shared using open licences. This means that they are free for others to use, copy, distribute, modify, or reuse. Open textbooks can be a useful pedagogical tool, as their content may be modified and customized to meet the specific learning objectives of a particular course.

Why an accessibility toolkit?

The focus of many open textbook projects is to provide access to education at low or no cost. But what does access mean? If the materials are not accessible for each and every student, do they fulfill the mandate to deliver fully open textbooks?

The goal of the Accessibility Toolkit is to provide the resources needed for each content creator, instructional designer, educational technologist, librarian, administrator, and teaching assistant to create a truly open and accessible textbook —  one that is free and accessible for all students.

As you work through the content of the Accessibility Toolkit, you will find that the suggestions provided are intended for the non-technical user. If you are looking for more technical descriptions of how to make your work accessible, we suggest you review the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

What is Pressbooks?

In addition to providing general strategies for ensuring the creation of accessible content, the Accessibility Toolkit includes specific instructions for how to achieve those accessibility requirements in Pressbooks. Pressbooks is a web-based authoring tool based on WordPress, and it is the primary tool that BCcampus Open Education (in addition to many other open textbook projects) uses to create and adapt open textbooks. In May 2018, Pressbooks announced their Accessibility Policy, outlining their efforts and commitment to making their software accessible.

BCcampus has created a self-serve instance of Pressbooks for faculty and instructors who teach at post-secondary institutions in British Columbia and Yukon College.

To Care and Comply: Accessibility of Online Course Content

Here is a video looking at Portland Community College’s web-accessibility guidelines and how supporting students with disabilities is a shared responsibility across the college. The video includes stories from students whose education is impacted by inaccessible web content and ways faculty and staff can improve online course materials to make course content more accessible. This video is an OER.

To Care & Comply: Accessibility of Online Course Content [New Tab]


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About the Toolkit by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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