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Free, Open, and Affordable Resources: Create

Materials for All: Making Accessible OER

The focus of many open education projects is to provide access to education. 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 education? The open education movement has helped people in different parts of the world access content that they would otherwise not be able to view or interact with. Open education resources reduce costs for students and allow for greater flexibility for instructors. Accessibility can help push the movement even further forward.

From the University of British Columbia's OER Accessibility Toolkit. The BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. 

Resources for OER Creators

  • OER Starter Kit by Abby Elder
    • This starter kit has been created to provide instructors with an introduction to the use and creation of open educational resources (OER). The text is broken into five sections: Getting Started, Copyright, Finding OER, Teaching with OER, and Creating OER. Although some chapters contain more advanced content, the starter kit is primarily intended for users who are entirely new to Open Education. [Version 1.1. Revised September 5th, 2019.]
  • OER Starter Kit Workbook by Abbey Elder and Stacy Katz
    • The OER Starter Kit Workbook is a remix of the OER Starter Kit to include worksheets to help instructors practice the skills they need to confidently find, use, or even create open educational resources (OER). We welcome instructors, librarians, instructional designers, administrators, and anyone else interested in OER to explore the OER Starter Kit Workbook. The OER Starter Kit Workbook received the 2020 OE Global Open Reuse / Remix / Adaptation Award. It was honored as an outstanding example of OER reuse, remix or adaptation.
  • Authoring Open Textbooks by Melissa Falldin and Karen Lauritsen
    • ​​​​This guide is for faculty authors, librarians, project managers and others who are involved in the production of open textbooks in higher education and K-12. Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools.
  • Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri Aesoph
    • The BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide is a reference for individuals or groups wanting to write and self-publish an open textbook. This guide provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, publication, and maintenance of an open textbook. Copyright, open-copyright licences, and the differences between citation and attribution are discussed as well as the importance of copy editing and proofreading. Checklists and templates are also provided. This guide replaces the BCcampus Open Education Authoring Guide.
  • Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) is a living repository of collective knowledge, written to equip all those who want to publish open textbooks with the resources they need. Representing two years of collaboration, innumerable conversations and exchanges, and a wide range of collective knowledge and experience, the Guide is a book-in-progress and will evolve and grow over time.
  • OER Commons: Remix a Resource by OER Commons Help Center
    • Remixing a resource means you can adapt, reorganize, and remake a resource to create something new. This is especially helpful when you would like to adapt the material to learners’ needs, localize content to make the material more accessible, or add revised data to keep your resource current and up to date while preserving the original.

Tools for Creators

  • PressBooks
    • "Easily create e-books, typeset PDFs, and web books. Choose from professionally designed book themes. One button publishing." Free options available.
  • PubPub
    • A platform for collaborative writing and publishing that allows embedded multimedia, such as data visualizations and videos. The basic level is free.
  • Open Author
    • Open Author helps you build and publish Open Educational Resources for you and for the benefit of educators and learners everywhere.
  • GitBooks 
    • An open source tool that allows you to create a textbook hosted in a GitHub repository. You can create your content or embed rich, multimedia content. There is currently no PDF export option.
  • Google Drive
    • This allows you to create web-hosted documents, presentations, forms etc. Access Google Drive with a free Google account.
  • Inkspace
    • Free and open-source vector graphics editor for creating and editing PDFs and graphics.

Creating OER and Combining Licenses

Creative Commons License Chooser

You can use the Creative Commons License Chooser to determine the appropriate CC license and add it to your content.

Screengrab of Creative Commons License Chooser. Contains four boxes in a square configuration: top left box shows information of license features, with questions and buttons to help choose a license. The top right box shows the selected license and its icons: in this case, Attribution 4.0 International. The bottom left square gives information on how to "Help Others Attribute You"; this step is optional. The bottom right box is information on code for a CC licensed website.

Creative Commons License Chooser by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Authoring Accessible OER

5 Rules of Textbook Development

Infographic with green and blue text outlining the 5 rules of textbook development: repetition, frameworks, meaningful names, manageable numbers, and hierarchies.

Aesoph, L. M. (n.d.). 5 Rules of Textbook Development. In BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.