The Open University Case Study


Transcription of course text books and other University materials to large print and Braille to enable disabled students equal and effective access to their course materials.

Project info

The Open University – making education accessible

The Open University logo







‘The printed materials A2i produce for The Open University are invaluable for our students and their studies.  The material is clear and concise as well as accurate and we’ve always had good feedback from our students. The books look professional and are always well laid out.  Another positive about A2i is that they work with us in order the best service to our students, if we need an item rushed they we will always do their upmost to accommodate our requests. It’s great having a resource we can really rely on’.
Angela Mason
Manager – Alternative Formats


Customer: The Open University

Services provided by A2i: Transcription of course text books and other University materials to large print and Braille (including tactile diagrams) to enable disabled students equal and effective access to their course materials.


Who are The Open University?


The Open University has pioneered distance learning for over 50 years, delivering exceptional teaching and outstanding support to students across the UK and the world.

In 1969 their ambition changed the world, giving anyone, anywhere the power to learn.

Study with them to benefit from innovative teaching and qualifications respected by employers; all with the flexibility and value not always available at classroom-based universities.


A2i and the Open University – since 2005


A2i and the Open University have worked together since 2005. In that time A2i have transcribed hundreds of course books, exam papers, and other documents, enabling The Open University to offer equal access to their courses to students with a visual impairment, or other conditions such as dyslexia.


Braille document produced by A2i for The Open University entitled 'Studying with little or no sight'







How A2i’s services help the Open University 


  • Quality: The University can be confident that transcribed documents are accurate, good quality, and user-friendly.
  • Speed: The University needs a quick turnaround at all stages – from the initial quote to receipt of the final documents. Students often only register their place close to the course start date, A2i transcribe material quickly so the students can start their course  on time.
  • Flexibility and good communication: Multiple students, a range of courses and numerous changing dynamics mean flexibility is often needed. A2i and the OU communicate regularly and we adapt to best meet the needs of the University and the students.
  • Individual consistency: Students usually study for a few years, and access multiple documents in that time. A2i keep a record of each student and their requirements, to ensure consistency across documents.
  • Exam invigilator support: Exam invigilators need to know students with Braille exam papers are being treated fairly. A2i give extra guidance and information with all Braille exam papers so invigilators can find where things are in Braille exam papers, and know where the questions start.


Tactile diagrams







How A2i’s services help the students


Of course, quality, accuracy and speed are crucial for the students as well. But they also need:

  • Careful layout: students need a clear, user-friendly layout so they can navigate easily within and between numerous large documents. In exam papers, careful and thoughtful configuration means students don’t waste precious minutes.
  • Individual specifications: Everyone is different. A2i meet the individual requirements and specifications for each student, such as paper colour, print colour, font size, and more.
  • Practical thinking: A 500-page standard print book can easily become 1500 pages in Large Print, or 2000 pages in Braille. That would be too heavy to carry around, and difficult and cumbersome for a student to use. A2i and the OU work together to mould the preferences of the student with the practicalities of transcription and decide the best layouts, document volumes, binding options and more, for each document produced.
  • Tactile support for Braille users: A description of a diagram or graph, for example, isn’t always appropriate, especially in exams where a description in words might give the answer away. A2i produce tactile graphs and diagrams, with Braille annotation, to allow equal access to information for all students.


Large Print maths





The accessible formats produced by A2i for the Open University


  • Large Print: including maths to degree level, individual font sizes, paper colour and print colour.
  • Braille: including maths to degree level, computer annotation, pictures, diagrams, graphs.
  • Tactile diagrams: with Braille annotation, especially useful in Braille exam papers.


Examples of large print produced by A2i for the Open University showing several colour combinations








About A2i


A2i helps organisations reach a wider audience by making information accessible to people who are blind, visually-impaired or cannot otherwise read printed text.

We provide ‘Access 2 information’. We transcribe text to alternative accessible formats, so disabled people have equal access to information. We produce information in Braille, Audio, Large Print, Easy Read, BSL and electronic formats (e-text).

Contact our friendly team for more information for a quote.

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