Making it Right!

Internationalization/Localization/Accessibility [ILA]

A quick Google search reveals many sites that can provide a definition and detailed description of both localization and internationalization. For a number of reasons I very quickly centered on the World Wide Web Consortium site as a good general source [here is their definition and description]. Much of the discussion of OER happens around distribution, creation and openness generally. When we think of distribution we tend to default to thinking about the web as the primary method of getting content out there. It makes sense then to turn to the one organization [the W3C] that is all about standardization of content and process on the web. Discussions also turn to openness and the W3C is well invested in making content available to as many people as possible. The W3C International Activity speaks directly to this:

“The W3C Internationalization (I18n) Activity works with W3C working groups and liaises with other organizations to make it possible to use Web technologies with different languages, scripts, and cultures. From this page you can find articles and other resources about Web internationalization, and information about the groups that make up the Activity.”

In the end there are really three considerations when creating open educational content:

  • Internationalization [making content as ready as possible to localize]
  • localization [adapting content for a specific target audience]
  • accessibility [enable those with disabilities to access content]

With respect to its very nature the creation, remixing and reuse of OER should adhere as much as possible to development guidelines that promote internationalization, localization and accessibility. The W3C site provides information, resources and links that will support the creation of such content.

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4 Responses to Making it Right!

  1. Hi Stu,

    Yes, indeed! Making it right is paramount. I have begun the OER using Wikispaces (and I am still getting used to the functionality of it). Apart from making it a structured learning tool that guides the learner along (or at least provides that option) it is important that the content is standardized.

    The link to the World Wide Web Consortium site that you provided does share useful information on creating standardized HTML, XHTML, CSS, and Java, to name just a few. I imagine that in Wikispaces (today I learnt that it has it’s own ‘wiki language’ for coding text) the code (if that is the proper term) is simpler to understand and write.

    With Wikispaces and Blogger you can just type in your text and one does not have to edit any HTML or other language (unless you want to). I am sure this is the same with other programs as well. My thoughts go to whether or not this is useful or if it is better for the developer to learn a basic understanding of the code. Perhaps this would give them a greater ability to format and stylize the content.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  2. damoclarky says:

    Stu, you have highlighted an important point that I think is often overlooked, in terms of the accessibility for those with disabilities. A particularly relevant point for me, as accessibility has become a hot topic at my institution in the past couple of weeks. We could certainly do alot better with our online resources for students. I have to admit in the past when I have developed online materials, I have not given accessibility any thought. How would this appear to a screen-reader for a blind person for instance? Or even will these colours be distinguishable to someone who is colour blind. Spending a little more time thinking these things through can make all the difference to someone who has an impairment. The technology is available to assist those with disabilities and we should as best as practicable, make use of these technologies to be inclusive with the development of our OERs.

  3. Leah Good says:

    With tools like WordPress or Joomla, which separate the content from the format of a website, I would think that accessibility would be easier to implement. I thought it might be useful for me, because I use WordPress for not only the blogs for this course but also for the backend of a couple of websites, to see whether this is true. I did a quick search on the WordPress site and found a number of plugins, such as iWebReader that will read posts aloud and Easy Reader that says it “lets your readers open an easy to read version of your blog posts,” which I assume means it strips the formatting from text. A few other plugins are in beta. I may do a little more investigation of these two plugins and then incorporate them into my sites. I didn’t yet see anything that would strip colors, though. What would be cool is if a reader could switch to an “accessible” theme easily, and that theme would contain the readers, convert to black and white, and perhaps work with any devices people have on their computer that augments accessibility.

    Thanks for the post, Stu! The W3C links are very useful.

  4. Vincent Jansen says:

    I do agree with your points about internationalization and localization but I think accessibility could even be a component of the localization theme. Localization certainly means that we need to give the content attributes that make it useful in a local context but may include accessibility as well. Another factor I would consider adding to this is customization, which is the sole purpose of adapting content to the needs of the end user. The ability to present content and add or disperse specific items to of the local context is part of the next wave of curation tools.

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