13 Diversity and Inclusion

We deeply value the diverse users of our texts and seek to include and impact each staff and student user in a positive and considerate manner.

During our development processes, the OEP team undertakes substantial efforts to properly represent genders, races, cultures, geographies, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, nationalities, ages, sexual orientations, socio-economic status, and diverse viewpoints in our books. We seek to avoid any offence, and ensure that every reader can see themselves in our texts.

To that end, we have created general guidelines for development and improvement, adapted from OpenStax’s Improving Representation and Diversity in OER Materials [PDF]. This framework is a practical starting point for creating OER and assessing and editing OER for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA). Each section below notes a broad category to assess. The “Aims” sections list the requirements to fulfil the needs of the category. “Actions and Considerations” offer areas to assess, tips, and examples that will help achieve the aims.

Resource – Enhancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility in OER

This practical guide provides a framework and tips to enhance inclusion, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in OER.

Be Aware of Ethnocentrism

It’s easy for ethnocentrism – voluntarily or involuntarily viewing the world through the lens of your ethnicity or culture without taking other ethnicities or cultures into account – to creep into the content and presentation of an open text, so this is something you will need to be aware of. This doesn’t mean you should try to write an open text that fits every culture and perspective – be respectful.

One of the benefits of open texts is that instructors from different countries and cultures can customise them to suit their needs.

For example, you may decide to adapt an American open text to fit the Australian context or expand the content to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Diverse and Inclusive Imagery

When people ‘cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read’, or in the images they see ‘they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in a society of which they are a part,’ (Sims-Bishop, 1990). This is why representation is so important.

Resources for Diverse and Inclusive Representation

The list of websites below provides diverse and inclusive illustrations to add to your OER. All of these websites license their imagery under a Creative Commons licence, but please ensure you are following the licence terms correctly.

  • Images of Empowerment: Free images of women’s lives and work, created by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Getty Images. Licence: CC-BY-NC 4.0.
  • Disabled and Here: Free stock photography featuring disabled BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour), varied body sizes/types, sexual orientations, and gender identities in the Pacific Northwest. Licence: CC BY 4.0.
  • Disability:IN: Disability-inclusive stock photography. Licence: CC-BY-ND.
  • The Gender Spectrum Collection: Free stock photos of trans and non-binary people. Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
  • Queer in Tech: Photos that promote the visibility of queer and gender-nonconforming (GNC) people in technology, who are often under-represented as workers powering the creative, technical, and business leadership of groundbreaking tech companies and products. Licence: CC BY 3.0.
  • Allgo Plus-Size: Free stock photography collections featuring plus-size people. Licence: While attribution is not required, please credit.
  • Nappy: Free high-resolution photos of black and brown people. Licence: CC0.
  • PICNOI: “We are a coop of stock image photography. We recognise that most other FREE stock image sites have very few or no images of people of colour. We sought to create a space where publishers, bloggers, website owners, marketers, designers, graphic artists, advertisers and the like can easily search and find diverse multi-racial images.” Licence: CC-BY 4.0.
  • #WOCinTech Chat: Free photos of women and non-binary people of colour working in the Tech field. Licence: CC BY.
  • Redefining Women Icon Collection: Icons of women. Licence: CC0 1.0.
  • Open Peeps: “A hand-drawn illustration library.” Mix and match elements to create different “peeps.” Please note that you might need a design program to create your own “peeps.” There are pre-made “peeps” you can download without a program. Licence: CC0.
  • Autism Comics: Comic strips relating to autism. Licence: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
  • Pexels: Photographs relating to diversity and inclusion. Licence: CC0.
  • The Greats: a free vault with carefully curated socially engaged visual content on human rights issues. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Use Inclusive Language

Words matter. They reflect the values and knowledge of people using them and can reinforce both negative and positive perceptions about others. Language is not neutral. Inclusive language acknowledges the unique values, skills, viewpoints, experiences, culture, abilities and experiences of individuals or groups (QUT, 2010).

Your use of inclusive language – how you speak, write and visually represent others – is an important part of open education.

Resource – Inclusive Language

Read this chapter on inclusive language, including gender-inclusive language, culturally inclusive language and inclusive language for people with a disability.


QUT. (2010). Working with diversity: a guide to inclusive language and presentation for staff and students. QUT Equity Services Brisbane.

Sims-Bishop, R. (1990). ‘Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors.’ Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3).

Chapter Attribution

This chapter is adapted in parts from:


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