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Rosa Navarrete, Sergio Luján-Mora. Open Educational Resources as an opportunity for access to learning for people with disabilities in Latin American and Caribbean. Proceedings of the 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2014), p. 1378-1386, Valencia (Spain), March 10-12 2014. ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0. ISSN: 2340-1079.
The Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative involves resources released by their authors, under an open free license and that are available through websites for self-learning and learning environments.
Currently, a significant number of universities are involved in this initiative and increasingly incorporate more. Similarly the number of educational resources available continues to grow. However, despite the increasing offer of OER, there is no significant response in relation to resources that can be suitable for people with disabilities, for whom self-learning through digital media is an opportunity for their personal growth, and consequently, a positive influence faced their expectations of social inclusion and access to employment.
According to the “World Report on Disabilities 2011”, released by the World Health Organization of the United Nations, 85 million people live with some kind of disability in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. For people from these countries, the language barrier is added, so it is necessary that OER websites also provide content in Spanish language, because this is the predominant official language in those countries.
This research explores some of the most representative OER websites that offer content in Spanish language, to verify the existence of resources that meet accessibility conditions to recommend their use in the context of self-learning and as resources to support teaching of people with disabilities, particularly for LAC countries. Additionally, considering that most efforts to improve the educational level for people with disabilities are focused on the initial or basic education, in this research it is important to verify that the educational level of the open resources correspond to high school as minimum.
Since visual and auditory disabilities have a high rate of incidence in the population, this study focuses on the accessibility considerations about resources for people with such disabilities. The accessibility analysis is performed based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), because is a world-wide standard accepted by many countries.
This study can be useful to verify that the universities involved in the OER initiative encourage the inclusion and equitable access to learning opportunities to people with disabilities, and therefore, they fulfil their role to support the vulnerable sectors of society.