Susan Puccio, Alba De Leon, Melissa Elston, Julie Engel, Mark Farris, Rose Losoya, Suzel Molina, Aaron Smith
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Community College / Lower Division
  • Accessibilty
  • Faculty Development
  • Implementation
  • Oer
  • Plan
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Palo Alto College - IHE Accessibility in OER Implementation Guide

    Palo Alto College - IHE Accessibility in OER Implementation Guide


    In this section, you and your team will engage in a Landscape Analysis to uncover key structures and supports that can guide your work to support Accessibility in OER. You may or may not answer all of these questions, but this is an offering.

    Part One: Initial Thoughts

    What is your team's initial goal for this series?

    To make some sort of meaningful, measurable change to accessibility in our current and future OER offerings.

    Part Two: Introductory probing questions

    What does accessibility look like in our organization? How do we measure accessibility?

    Physical accessibility is addressed via campus-level committee. We have a DSS office which handles course modifications for students and distributes/communicates those to instructors.

    We also currently assess accessibility issues in electronic environments (Canvas courses) in a limited form, via the APPQMR process/rubric (which the district has trained a number of faculty in already), but we do not have a standardized approach to OER.

    What does OER look like in our organization? How do we measure access to OER?

    At PAC in recent years, we have leveraged grant funding to support a multi-year/multi-level training program for faculty who wish to incorporate OER into courses or author their own OER.

    We currently track faculty who have been trained in OER, as well as courses which are coded for OER in Banner; I do not believe we have developed a universalized metric for assessing access beyond these.

    Part Three: Clarifying questions for accessibility

    What is the organizational structure that supports accessibility?

    DSS office and a campus-level accessibility committee. TLC sometimes takes up some of this conversation, as does district-level faculty development. 

    Who generates most of the accessibility structures/conversation in our organization?

    The DSS office, the Teaching and Learning Center…

    Where do most educators get support with accessibility?

    The most visible place for instructors to see accessibility support is often the modification sheets that DSS sends out as a means of accommodation at the beginning of each semester. However, we can do better – adopting UD as a faculty-led pedagogical stance could stave off access issues before they begin.

    What content areas might have the largest gaps in access to accessibility?

    Historically, government courses have far fewer OR-listed sections than other disciplines. We suspect this may indicate an accessibility gap as well.


    Part Four: Clarifying questions for OER

    What is our organizational structure that supports OER?

    We have a college advisory committee and a campus-level OER team (S. Molina and M. Elston - faculty, S. Puccio - library).

    Who generates most of the curricular resources in our organization?

    Faculty have enthusiastically embraced OER at our campus, and almost 70% have received training to select or generate OER. A large proportion of these faculty are actively using OER. This is complemented by department-level support.

    Where do most educators get support with curricular resources?

    See previous answer.

    What content areas might have the largest gaps in access to curricular resources/OER?

    • Government has the biggest historical gap. (History and Government are our developmental focus for the upcoming AY in OER.)

    • New CTE programs are catching up rapidly.

    Part Five: Clarifying questions for Faculty learning and engagement

    What Professional Learning (PL) structures have the best participation rates for our educators?

    Faculty development sessions are offered at the district and campus level (through AC District Faculty Development and the PAC Teaching and Learning Center). There are also some department-level faculty development sessions, but these are uneven across departments. (For example, our English department hosts a series of Teaching Circles each year that have high participation rates. Not every department does this.) We also have a very well-attended, multi-session Faculty Symposium every year that frequently focuses on teaching issues. 

    What PL structures have the best "production" rates for our educators?

    Professional development offerings that are developed by faculty for faculty have the best production and retention rate at Palo Alto College.

    What incentive do we have to offer people for participating in learning and engagement?


    OER Professional Development courses offer within Canvas (paid incentive)

    1. Introduction to OER (1.17 WLU)

    2. OER for the Zealot (2.34 WLU)

    3. OER for Textbook Publication (3.0 WLU)

    Who are the educators that would be most creative with accessibility and OER?

    In September 2023, the PAC OER Advisory Committee will begin discussing developing professional development accessibility courses. We expect some of our early adopters to be the most creative with this aspect of OER. 

    Who are the educators that would benefit the most from accessibility and OER?

    All educators and students will benefit from accessibility and OER.

    Part Six: Final Probing questions

    What is our current goal for Accessibility in OER and why is that our goal?

    • Create Accessibility professional development course: Modules: Empathy, Usability, Accessibility 

    • Incorporate Universal Design into our “OER for Textbook Publication” course so that textbook authors do not have to go back and retrofit their work – but design these textbooks with accessibility in mind from the start.

    • Create Accessibility Review Committee for OER produced at PAC, to support goal #2 and add oversight/a “second set of eyes.”

    Who have we not yet included while thinking about this work? 

    PAC DSS Staff (Director: Cindy Morgan)

    What barriers remain when considering this work? 

    • Funding for additional professional development 

    • Faculty feeling “overwhelmed” by taking on access work 

    • Limited prep time, administrative expectations vs. actual faculty workload

    ​​​​​​​What would genuine change look like for our organization for this work?

    • Embrace of Universal Design at the Course/Department level when working with or planning OER, plus committed institutional support ($$) for faculty development toward this purpose, and to compensate faculty for time/labor.

    • Perhaps an additional position in the organizational chart – like a Director of Universal Design? Housed in TLC? DSS Office? (There are several options that would make sense.)