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OER: Open Educational Resources

OER process

Are you considering building a textbook-free course to save students money and improve teaching and learning? Here are some tips for using Open Educational Resources to convert your class.

Step 1: Plan

  • Set aside time; searching for these materials takes time and persistence.

  • Define your learning objectives at the course and topic level.

Step 2: Search

  • Check to see if someone else has created a similar, complete OER course or textbook. See the "Complete Courses" and "Complete Textbooks" sections of the "Finding OER" page.

Example: Go to Open Course Library and browse the materials for their biology courses.

  • For some classes, you may need to incorporate multiple materials to address different topics. Focus on what you would like students to know or be able to do. Use large OER repositories to search for topic-specific resources.

Example: Instead of searching for “biology”, search in OER Commons for “cell structure” or “DNA” or “evolution”.

  • Most open materials are under flexible Creative Commons Copyright licenses that allow the materials to be adapted. You don’t have to adopt all-or-nothing. Look for what works.

  • Search for library materials, especially e-books and articles, that can support your class.

  • Not finding what you are looking for? Ask a librarian for assistance with your search.

Step 3: Create

  • Explore OER authoring platforms; consider what formats would be most useful to your students.

  • Adapt and combine existing materials.

  • Create new materials to fill in the gaps.

Step 4: Share

  • Assign Creative Commons licenses to materials that you create. Sharing is at the heart of the OER movement.

  • Create records in OER repositories, like the OER Commons, so that others can find your materials.