This website accessibility statement applies to the OpenLearn website, which is run by The Open University, and describes the process by which we ensure that the site is accessible. Our OpenLearn website, accessed via www.open.edu/openlearn, is the home of free learning from The Open University. We provide bite-sized learning resources derived from Open University modules that cover a wide range of subjects and topics. Anyone can access our website and its content without needing to be an Open University student.
The OpenLearn website consists of several tens of thousands of individual pages. This statement covers all elements of the OpenLearn website, which we have tested and provided accessibility information for in this statement.
We want as many people as possible to be able to use our website, with accessibility being an essential part of our mission. To adapt the content to your needs or preferences in most cases you should be able to:
- change the colours, contrasts levels and fonts
- resize text up to 200% without impact on the functionality of the website
- zoom in up to 400% without loss of information or functionality, or the need to scroll in more than one direction
- navigate the website using just a keyboard to allow you to:
- tab to ‘Skip to content’ links at the top of the page to jump over repetitive information to the main content
- tab through the content; the current location will be indicated by a clear visual change
- control the embedded media player to play audio and video materials
- use a screen reader (e.g. JAWs, NVDA) to:
- listen to the content of web pages and use most functionalities on the page
- list the headings and subheadings on the page and then jump to their location
- bring up a list of meaningful links on the page
- use transcripts or closed captions with most audio and video materials
- download learning materials in alternative formats (e.g. Word document, PDF, ePub, Kindle eBook).
If you are an OU student, or if you are concerned about accessibility of other Open University websites, please visit the overall The Open University accessibility statement.
How accessible this website is
We strive to exceed current accessibility standards. However, we know some elements of OpenLearn are not fully accessible. This includes:
- older legacy and archived material
- some third-party content not created by The Open University
- sites linked from OpenLearn pages but not run by The Open University
- some activities (for example some of those involving maps, charts, graphs, simulations, online experiments, interactive activities and features)
- some content with specialised notations, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and music
- older PDFS and Word documents, which may not be fully accessible to screen reader software
- some text and interface components (for example search boxes, check boxes), which do not provide enough colour contrast
- some online forms, which are not set up correctly to include helpful direction for screen reader users.
We aim to provide accessible alternative content or activities where we can. However, some older activities developed before 2018, such as online experiments and interactive games and features, are not fully accessible as it is not possible to run them on all device types and players and it is difficult to offer alternative formats for these types of content. We are aware of this and are working through old content to make improvements.
If you need further assistance, you may want to access AbilityNet which provides advice on making your device easier to use if you have a disability.
Feedback and contact information
If you find that a certain section of the OpenLearn website is not accessible and you can’t get access to the information that you need, please contact OpenLearn via firstname.lastname@example.org. You should expect to hear back from us within five working days.
We also have some useful information about getting the best out of our websites.
Reporting accessibility problems on the OpenLearn website
We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of our OpenLearn website. If you find a problem that isn’t already listed on this page or you think we’re not meeting the requirements of the accessibility regulations (Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018), please contact us via email@example.com. In your email, please include the web address (URL) of the page and a description of the problem. Please also leave your name and email address so that we can contact you about your feedback. You should expect to hear back from us within five working days.
If you are an Open University student, or someone who has had contact with The Open University before, and have a complaint about the accessibility of our websites, you should raise a complaint via the University’s complaints and appeals procedure.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No.2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you are not happy with our response and all our procedures have been exhausted, please contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS). If you are based in Northern Ireland you can contact the Equalities Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI).
If you are neither a student, nor someone who has had contact with the University before and have a complaint about the accessibility of our website, you should go directly to the EASS.
If you wish to contact us about anything not covered above, please visit our Contact Page where we have a comprehensive list of services to suit your specific enquiry and requirements.
Technical information about this website’s accessibility
The Open University is committed to making its websites accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
The OpenLearn website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.
OpenLearn is undergoing a complete platform overhaul due for completion in November 2021. Part of this work will involve a full site accessibility audit and fix to take place in June 2021.
We have conducted a manual survey of the site for video transcripts and set up a system report for alternative text for images.
We have also conducted an automated preliminary sample audit of 23 popular and important pages of the site.
The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.
Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations
Some legacy images which convey meaning do not have an informative text alternative, so people using a screen reader cannot access the information. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criteria 1.1.1 (Non-text content).
These are identified by a system report. The report is being analysed and fixes implemented on a working basis. Expected completion December 2022.
A site overhaul recently completed. This included a site audit in which most exiting system accessibility issues were resolved. We are evaluating the new site to identify any remaining issues.
When those accessibility defects have been fixed by the dates given, our OpenLearn site will be compliant.
We are not claiming any disproportionate burden at the moment.
Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations
The following types of content may not always be accessible, and they are not included within the scope of the accessibility regulation.
Video and audio
Wherever possible we provide transcripts for audio, and captions, audio descriptions and transcripts for video. Sometimes these alternatives are not available. We do not plan to provide these for all video published before 23rd September 2020 because pre-recorded time-based media published before this date is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.
Live audio and video
We do not plan to add captions to all live video streams because live video is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.
Reproductions of items in heritage collections are exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations where they cannot be made accessible due to the unavailability of cost effective solutions to achieve this, or where making items accessible would impact negatively on the preservation of the item.
PDFs and other documents
PDFs or other documents that are not essential to providing our services and were published before 23rd September 2018 are exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations, and therefore we do not have plans to fix these. We are working to ensure that any new PDFs or other documents that we publish will meet accessibility standards.
Online maps and mapping services are exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.
Third party content not within OU control
Third party content that is not funded, developed by, or under the control of the OU is exempt from meeting the accessibility regulations.
What we’re doing to improve accessibility
For existing pages that are partially compliant, we have plans to fix those areas that are not accessible. The target fix date is shown above, in the ‘Non-accessible content’ section. We are undergoing a complete platform overhaul. This work will involve a full site accessibility audit and fix. The work is due for completion in November 2021.
For more information about what we are doing to improve accessibility across all The Open University’s websites please see The Open University accessibility statement.
Preparation of this accessibility statement
This statement was prepared on 23 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 2 December 2021.
Our OpenLearn website was tested between September 2019 and September 2020. The test was carried out by Open University staff. The tests were based on a sample of pages from the site. The pages were chosen to be representative of different types of content. An emphasis was placed on pages that were either used by many people or would significantly affect particular groups of users, and these pages were tested first. Testing was undertaken by a combination of manual and automated methods.