5 Inclusivity and Accessibility

While an advantage of OER is that teachers can create or adopt work specifically to suit their cohort, RMIT University is committed to ensuring an equitable experience for staff and students. You should take responsibility to assume as broad a readership as practical for your content and make sure it is inclusive and accessible. You can do this by:

  1. designing your content to ensure that everyone in your anticipated user group(s) can read and understand the text
  2. considering and accommodating diverse populations.

Planning for inclusivity, equity and inclusion

Open textbook readers represent a wide diversity of user groups.  They may be from different:

  • socio-economic classes
  • geographic locations
  • types of higher education institution
  • age groups
  • socio-political affiliations
  • cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Take these steps to meet inclusion and diversity standards:

  • Ensure accurate, unbiased and respectful representation of genders, races, cultures, geographies, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, nationalities, ages, sexual orientations, socio-economic statuses and diverse viewpoints.
  • Monitor changes in terminology.
  • Get input from colleagues, students or community members from diverse backgrounds.
  • Consult with advocacy groups and RMIT committees or departments devoted to diversity and inclusion.

(Adapted from “Open Educational Resources Collective Publishing Workflow” by Council of Australian University Librarians is licensed under CC BY 4.0)

Sensitivity reading

Consider engaging a sensitivity reader to review your text if you are writing about cultures outside your lived experience.

“A sensitivity reader is someone who reads for offensive content, misrepresentation, stereotypes, bias, lack of understanding, etc. They create a report for an author and/or publisher outlining the problems that they find in a piece of work and offer solutions in how to fix them. By doing this, the literary quality of a work is substantially improved.”[1]

Planning for accessibility

It is important to plan for accessibility and inclusivity from the earliest stages of your project. The RMIT Open Press Style Guide will support you in making sure you adhere to accessibility and inclusivity requirements.  It provides guidance on:

  • organising content
  • accessible images, links, multimedia, formulas etc.
  • clear and inclusive language which respects all aspects of cultural and LGBQTI+ identity
  • grammar, formatting and spelling for accessibility.

  1. University of Alberta Library. (2022). Writing, editing, and publishing Indigenous stories: Sensitivity reading. https://guides.library.ualberta.ca/c.php?g=708820&p=5049650 CC BY NC SA 4.0   


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RMIT Open Publishing Toolkit for Authors Copyright © 2022 by RMIT University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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