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Open Educational Resources

Understanding Open Educational Resources

Ideas for Getting Started

  1. Explore one OER: Browse the list in "Finding and Evaluating OER" of OER collections and find an assignment, activity or any other component relevant for your class. Try it out, and, if you like it, keep using it for your class and consider using more comprehensive OER, like textbooks.
  2. Review an OER: Once you've explored using an OER in your class, consider evaluating and reviewing it to help others know its usefulness. Many OER collections, like Merlot, offer the option of peer reviews from the community (which should also be consulted when determining which OER to use).
  3. Create a list of potentially useful OER: Continue your exploration of OER by building a list of OER that can be used in current and future courses. You can work with your librarian to build a peer-reviewed list. Consider working with others in your subject areas to create departmental lists of OER.
  4. Adapt an OER: One of the particular benefits of using OER is that they can be adapted to suit particular curriculum needs. Consider revising or adding content to an OER to meet the needs of your class. After using an OER in class, you also may want to collect feedback from students that you can use to further revise the content.
  5. Create an OER: You can start to create your own OER by remixing already created content with your own or by starting from scratch. Remember to review Creative Commons licensing and license your content. You may also want to consider collaborating with other faculty.
  6. Deposit an OER: Consider contributing your own OER. Collections like Merlot and OER Commons are made of resources created by the community. You can deposit your material in an appropriate collection (see our list in "Finding and Evaluating OER"). Keep in mind aspects that will help others to find and use your content, like separating your content by chapter or heading, to make your content more adaptable, and making sure that you've added a resource description, keywords and other metadata to make your OER more discoverable.

Adapted from "Start Small" from OER -- Open Educational Resources: Get Started, University of Pittsburgh University Library System

How to Reduce Students' Textbook Costs

  1. Use Open Educational Resources in the classroom: When developing a new course or revamping an old one, look into using open textbooks or other alternative learning materials.
  2. Use course reserves through the Library: If you are only using a portion of a textbook as required reading, rather than have the students purchase it, consider putting a copy on reserve in the Library.  Students can check out the book and read what's needed or they can scan it to refer to it later.
  3. Don't buy into the publishers' online text packs and add-on study materials: Don't require students to purchase additional study materials from the publishers:
  • They can be costly for the students

  • The student often times don't use them

  • Access codes are often times single use so the sell back value of the book is decreased

  1. Use resources readily available to you:
  • Use articles available through the Library's databases

  • Use books (print and electronic) already available through the Library

  • Talk with the Library about purchasing materials (i.e. academic books, eBooks, etc.)

  • Consult with your subject librarian for assistance locating materials, both OER and library.

  1.  Communicate with your students:
  • Let your students know as early as possible which books are required reading for your class, this gives them time to shop around.

  • Make sure your syllabi are up-to-date; make sure that Suggested Readings aren't listed as Required Readings

  • Let students know if it's okay for them to use an older edition of the textbook.

  • Let new students know about textbook rentals and other alternatives to purchasing a textbook

  1. Consider sticking with older versions of a textbook: Updates to editions are usually minor. Consider sticking with older editions of textbooks, they are much less expensive.
  2. Communicate with the campus bookstore:
  • Get your orders in early so the bookstore knows which books to buy back and keep in stock

  • Let them know if you would like to keep using an older edition

  1. Talk with your librarians: We may have a suggestions for materials for your classes.

Source: Open Educational Resources (OER): 8 Easy Things, Archbishop Alemany Library, Dominican University of California