Perhaps you are seeing OERs or Open Education Resources mentioned more frequently at your disciplinary conferences. Or perhaps there are initiatives on your campus to promote OERs, like at UIS. In general OERs are materials made by other instructors, anywhere in the world, who are willing to freely share them with others. Do you need to think about accessibility with OERs? Yes. However, it shouldn’t be a stumbling block in your adoption of OERs. If you adopt OERs for your class you should check them for accessibility, as you would any other materials, and as you review them for fitting with your learning goals. As we’ve discussed, running the accessibility checker for Word files, PowerPoints, or PDFs can tell you how accessible something is and how to fix it.
In most cases, academic materials which are termed OER are licensed under a creative commons (CC) license. There are six different licenses. If the license is “attribution-non-commerical-no derivs” or “attributiuon-no derivs” and the material is accessible then you can use it, but make no alterations and you must credit the license holder.
For the other four licenses you can alter the materials to make them accessible or alter and add other content to them, just remember to credit the original creator/licensor.