Rochester Institute of Technology (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 2129-2135
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Open education, the movement where educational materials are posted online for anyone to access for free, has the potential to remove many barriers to education. For example, anyone with an Internet connection can view lectures from various universities, whose resources were previously unavailable to non-students. No longer are the teachings of subject matter experts in a particular domain reserved for those who are in close proximity to an educational institution or can afford the cost of tuition.

Several higher education institutions, consortiums, and organizations have taken the initiative to give anyone access to their educational resources or have provided a means for people to post educational content. However, are these online resources and materials usable by everyone? For this to be true, Web accessibility must be considered. Web accessibility guarantees that individuals with “visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities” are able to “perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web” (Introduction to Web Accessibility, 2005).

This study includes an analysis of several open education websites to determine whether open education materials are accessible to all. The sites are examined against the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The findings will be reported and recommendations for improving the accessibility of open education websites will be discussed.

Introduction to Web accessibility. (2005). Retrieved July 13, 2011, from W3C website:
Web accessibility, open education, open courseware.