Open Media Player 3.0

About this idea

The Open University has 200,000 students, making it the largest education provider in Europe. Ten percent of our students declare a disability, which equates to about 20,000 disabled students – the same as the student population of some UK universities. As a distance university, our students increasingly rely on online learning materials delivered across different formats – text, audio, video and so on.

Open Media Player pushes the boundaries of what a mainstream accessible media player means. It is an online audio and video player that was originally developed for and by The Open University, where it is widely embedded and used.

It is a valuable tool for all.

The project was open-sourced in July 2015, in part to help drive innovation. It is built on open source components and open standards including MediaElement.js, HTML5 and oEmbed.

Increasing accessibility

We have some ideas that we'd like to pursue - to increase accessibility and usefulness:

We'd like to integrate an interactive synchronised transcript feature, that would benefit those with hearing impairments, and a general audience. It would highlight the currently spoken word or phrase as an audio or video is played and would incorporate a search function.

And, we'd like to develop a prototype audio description function for the visually impaired. Audio description or described video is not common on the Web, so adding this feature will make the Player a valuable open-source tool.

Finally, we'd like to refresh the user-interface of the Player. This will enable us to take lessons we've learnt thus far, to further enhance usability for all. And, it will help ensure that authors continue to embed the Player, and users enjoy using it.


It is anticipated that the following team will be working on the project, all from the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at The Open University:

    • Kevin McLeod, Senior Learning and Teaching Technologies Manager;

    • Ola Fadoju, Quality Assurance Manager;

    • Peter Devine, Digital Media Specialist / designer;

    • Nick Freear, Educational Technology Developer;

    • Learning & Teaching Development (LTD) team member – usability and accessibility evaluations.

    • A student or students will be subjects in usability and accessibility evaluations.


    • Testing of prototypes: January 2016;

    • Development phase: January-February 2016

    • Usability/accessibility evaluation: February 2016.

    • JISC showcase event: March 2016.


    • New features released in publicly accessible GitHub code repositories;

    • Release notes, Wiki and blog posts;

    • Documented contributions to third-party open-source projects, for example, MediaElement.js;

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