(Floe) Designing for Inclusion in OER

Goals and definitions, explored


Lens 1: Supporting OER in meeting diverse learning needs.
Lens 2: Enabling the matching of OERs to users based on their learning, personal, and contextual needs and preferences. This includes matching actual, but also the means for bringing matchable OERs into existence.


Lens 1 (positive): Giving the full range of human diversity (ability, environment, culture, etc.) equal access to OER.
Lens 2 (contra-positive): Eliminating exclusion wrt OER.

OER (Open Educational Resource)

Lens 1 (conventional and conservative): Content that is made freely and openly available that were created for the expressed purpose of education (e.g., textbooks, lectures, syllabi, etc.)
Lens 2 (outward and liberal): Content that is made freely and openly available that can be purposed for education (e.g., Flickr images, YouTube/Vimeo videos, Twitter tweets, etc.)


Users come across OERs via search engines (e.g., Google), directories (e.g., OER Commons, Connexions), directly (e.g., referral by a friend or instructor), or by other means (what other means?). Given a resource, users might experience one of the following exclusion-related outcomes, ordered by increasing severity (and not necessarily categorically independent):

  • Trivial/no adjustments: the resource is essentially consumable by the user.
  • Tweaks and adjustments: the resource is in a medium(s) that is(/are) consumable by the user, but some tweaks are necessary to make it appropriately consumable (e.g., text size, contrast, simplified layout). This does not involve modification of the content actual, but rather adjustments in its presentation.
    • i.e., no/few changes are made to the content--only its presentation is altered
    • e.g., Fluid Infusion's UI options, Arc90's Readability, Safari's Reader
  • Supplementation: the resource is in a medium(s) that is(/are) only partially consumable by the user (e.g., the resource is made up mostly of text, but also uncaptioned images; or, the resource is a CC/subtitle/transcript-less video, which the user can see but not hear), and needs to be supplemented with an additional medium. This is may involve translation of content to another medium.
    • i.e., alternative format content is added to existing content to help "soothe" the gap in medium
    • e.g., Universal Subtitles, OpenCaps
  • Recreation: the resource is primarily in a medium that is inherently not consumable by the user (e.g., a graphic novel for a user without vision; a recorded music performance for a user without hearing), and needs to be recreated into an alternative medium. This may require revisiting the content's intent and meaning, and may involve interpretation of content into another medium.
    • i.e., an entirely new resource is created with the same content level and concepts, but delivered differently

Why & when users look for OERs (e.g., individual learner; educators looking for teaching material).

Demand & supply services. Matching services.

Inclusivity in OERs benefits everyone (i.e., beyond mitigating exclusion).