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About the OU > Admin and governance > Policies and Statements > Website accessibility at OpenLearn

Website accessibility at OpenLearn

Initial queries about The OpenLearn website should be sent to

The units released in OpenLearn are all reviewed to address accessibility and we aim to make them as accessible as possible. We are also working towards a new release of the underlying Moodle software to help meet compliance with W3C standards for all aspects.

OpenLearn has been reviewed by accessibility experts and tested using a range of different assistive technologies and computer settings. There are areas that can and will be improved based on recommendations from this review and otherwise identified, but core aspects of the site are already provided in a way which meets the needs of a wide variety of users.

  • Screenreaders: users with screenreaders should have no difficulty accessing the text-based content.
  • Settings: Users who require specific Windows or browser settings should not have any difficulties with the site, nor should users with screen magnifiers.
  • Video and audio materials can be played through a range of different media players or downloaded and over 90% have textual descriptions or transcripts to accompany them .
  • Our work with the Moodle community to enhance accessibility across OpenLearn will be of benefit to OpenLearn and all other sites which make use of Moodle worldwide.

You may find making changes to your web browser settings help you use this web site:

  • You can change the options in your browser to adjust the size and colour of the text and the colour of the background.
  • If you are using the latest version of Internet Explorer you will be able to override the colour scheme of this and many other websites.

Playing video and audio materials

Each video and audio asset is provided through a media player within the site, as a file download, and has a textual description or transcript to accompany it.

Some video assets are available for download in two file formats which offer different size files. These file downloads allow users to open the asset in the player of their choice, and to save it to their hard drive.

The media players within the site are keyboard accessible in a limited way. Users may find the following advice helpful:

  • In order to play the audio/video, tab to the media player, then spacebar or enter to activate it, then tab again to get the focus on the play button, then spacebar or enter to operate the button.
  • When the video frame is in focus the spacebar can usefully be used to toggle the play/pause button. Note this does not work on the audio player.
  • On both players it is possible to tab to the progress slider, but it is not possible to operate it.
  • On the video player it is possible to tab to the mute button but the focus is then lost. Tab then shift+tab to get back to the button.

The keyboard shortcuts for the media player are:

Play/Pause (p)
Fast backwards (-)
Fast forwards (+)
Volume increase ([)
Volume decrease (])
Mute on/off (m)
Show/hide captions where available (c)
Enter full screen mode (f)
Quit full screen mode (Esc)

Transcripts are usually held in PDF format. You will need free Acrobat Reader software to open PDF files. If you don’t have this already installed on your computer you can download it at


Speech recognition

Users who interact with their computer through speech recognition may find that their software cannot recognise the media players through the usual commands for buttons and links. You may be able to use mouse commands, but we suggest the 'separate player' and 'download file' links are likely to be the easiest to use.

Filling in forms

When filling in any OpenLearn online form we would recommend the following:

  • Read all of the form carefully before attempting to fill it in.
  • When you do fill the form in you may find it more useful to turn Virtual PC Cursor off if you are using the screenreader JAWS version 3.3 or above.
  • Once you have filled the form in, turn Virtual PC Cursor back on and check what you have entered. Then submit the form.

Other advice

You might also like to see the advice on Using web technologies and Helpful contacts.