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Case Study 7.1: University of Houston—An Author Workflow

Daniel Hauptvogel and Virginia (Jinny) Sasson at the University of Houston provided one example of an author-side accessibility workflow. While collaborating on an open textbook, the Story of Earth, Hauptvogel and Sisson received guidance from the Rebus Community on the importance of accessibility in open texts. As a result, they began working together to incorporate accessibility measures and they noted that these considerations have fundamentally changed their writing process.


As an example of their new workflow, Hauptvogel and Sisson mentioned image selection. While working to illustrate geological concepts, they try to find openly licensed maps and diagrams with pre-written alt text, appropriate color contrast, and legible text and labels. This combination of needs has proven challenging and they often have to settle for images with less legibility than they would like.


For consistency, Sisson has typically written all alt text while both authors kept accessibility concerns in mind as they placed images on the page, prepared tables, referenced images in the text, selected color schemes, structured pages, and described hyperlinks.


Hauptvogel and Sisson noted that their approach to teaching has changed as a result of their OER collaboration. In all of their classes, they began working to make course materials more accessible for students and, in 2020, they provided accessibility training to their 65 teaching assistants. They expressed the hope that more faculty members will likewise join in this work.


Hauptvogel’s and Sisson’s example suggests the far-reaching impact of inviting authors to participate in the work of making materials more accessible.


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Case Study 7.1: University of Houston—An Author Workflow by Talea Anderson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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