Evaluating OER for Accessibility

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 19% of undergraduate and 11% of graduate students have some sort of disability. Digital resources are not always designed with accessibility in mind. It is important to evaluate what online resources you are adopting so that it will be accessible for all students. W3C Web Accessibility Initiative defines 5 broad categories of disabilities that could be barriers when using OER:

  • Auditory
  • Cognitive, learning, and neurological
  • Physical
  • Speech
  • Visual

Consider checking some of these things when evaluating the accessibility of your chosen OER:

  • Is there an accessibility statement given by the author or any known accessibility issues?
  • Is there accessibility checking tool that can identify accessibility issues?
  • What media types does this OER use (text, video, audio, image, etc.)? Does each meet basic accessibility standards?
  • Can you revise a selected OER to create your own more accessible version?
Black and white icon of a laptop showing a video play button with a speech bubble.


To learn more about how to make course materials accessible and some basic steps you can take, visit our resource guide: Creating Accessible Course Content.


This information in this section was adapted from the University of Memphis Open Education Resources guide per the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Understanding OER Licensing

Most OER material is licensed under a Creative Commons License. All Creative Commons licenses require you to provide attribution when using content. There are additional categories to the license that help determine or restrict use.

There are six basic licenses of Creative Commons using a mix of four elements:

  • CC: By author: Must be attributed when using their work. Most basic and used Creative Commons license.
  • NC (Non-commercial): Limits the use to non-commercial use only.
  • ND (No derivative works): Prevents work from being adapted or changed. Must be used as is.
  • SA (Share alike): Allows remix, adaptation, or expansion of work, but conditionally must be released under the same license. Ensures the work will be free, open, and licensed for reuse.

Creative Commons licenses can be mixed and matched in different ways. Consider both the content and context in which you are using materials so that you use them correctly and, if necessary, adapt them to fit your needs.

Creative Commons License Infographic

Creative Common Licenses by Foter