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Open Educational Resources Guide: Adapting/Adopting OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) remove the financial barriers to education, but some OER may present other barriers for students. When adapting or adopting OER, it is important to also adapt to create accessible OER that support learners in a variety of ways. Below are some starting points for adopting and adapting accessible OERs.

Learn At Your Own Pace


The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges hosts the Open Washington website. Features:

  • Learn OER a self-paced OER training guide.
  • Find OER a categorized OER search guide including texbooks, videos, images, and other materials
  • Attribution Builder build your own attributions using CC licenses.
  • OER Stories a place where real faculty share their personal journey in using OE.

Your Guides on the Side

The list of resources below include information, toolkits, and checklists for adopting and adapting open educational resources.

OER Accessibility


Check to ensure that images have alternative text if needed.

To determine need: What purpose does the image serve? Does the image convey important information, explain a process, or contextualize text? 

If yes, then use Alt Text - add an alternative text description to convey the image's content or function.

If no / if the image is decorative, then add "null" alt text so that assistive technology ignores decorative images.


  • Choose or use images that do not rely solely on color to convey information.
  • Use a long description for charts, graphs, or maps. These images may need additional text or captioning that alt text cannot provide.



Text should be organized sequentially and include structural elements so assistive technology can navigate a webpage or text document.


  • Add or edit text to include headings, subheadings, chapters, and page numbers.
  • Add or edit text to include bulleted or numbered lists iIf the text is conveying a process or sequential steps.
  • Add or edit tables for communicating rows and columns of data only and include table captions.


Just like images and text, videos need additional information to be accessible.

Captions are text versions of the audio and are synced to the video presentation.

Transcripts are also text versions of the audio, but capture additional non-verbal descriptions of visual information.


  • Enable closed captioning or live transcripting when available, set captioning as playback default, if possible.
  • Select or use videos with follow-along transcripts.
  • Create transcripts when needed. When creating transcripts, use headings and subheadings.
    • Include all spoken content, relevant descriptions or markers of non-speech (e.g. waves hand, powerpoint slide 1).