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Open University Media Player Passes Accessibility Test

An online video and audio player being developed by the Open University (OU) for its students and the wider learning community has successfully passed through a round of accessibility testing including testing with deaf and dyslexic users, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

The generic media player, currently viewable as a ‘work in progress’ in alpha or prototype format, is being developed to allow the distance-learning university greater control over the technology used to access it extensive bank of podcast material.

The OU’s 200,000 students are likely to begin using the player on the university’s virtual learning environment by the end of this year or the start of next, according to Nick Freear, a web developer in the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology. It will also feature on ‘OpenLearn’, an open educational resources portal where anyone can access hundreds of online learning materials for free.

Accessibility features of the media player including the ability to add captions for video, and developers will be able to change the look and feel for use on their own websites, Freear said. The player is built on Flowplayer, an open source flash player which works on both desktop and tablet computers such as the Apple iPad, with HTML and Javascript additions, he said.

Eventually the source code for the accessible player might be opened up, Freear said. “but that’s down the line.”


  1. Schalk Neethling | July 22nd, 2011 | 7:29 pm

    Great work but, please open up the source sooner rather than later.

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