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EPUB for Open Textbooks

Posted on May 5, 2015

Or… Let’s build things the same way to address learner needs that are different.

Déjà Vu

Fifteen years ago a key impediment to meeting the academic needs of special education students was the inflexibility of print curriculum materials and the barriers they presented to students with sensory, physical and learning disabilities. At that time two essential components were identified to address this issue: 1) digital versions of textbooks and core instructional materials and 2) widely-adopted technical specifications for their creation.  The National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard, NIMAS, was built on those components. Fast forward to today.  While digital versions of print instructional materials have significantly expanded both access and usability, the majority of curriculum materials digital from the outset – both commercial and open resources – are, ironically, more rigid and less adaptable to retrofitting than their print counterparts.  Progress is being made, often following a civil rights complaint or lawsuit  intended to remind curriculum developers and adopters that learning resources designed for a mythical average learner yields predictably imaginary results.  A solution to this challenge is emerging, however, and it involves the same key components identified previously: digital content and uniform technical specifications that guide their creation and distribution. Read More..