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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources

Working with OER

There are three ways that an instructor can work with OER:

  1. Adopt (Use) -- use an OER just as it is. 
  2. Adapt (Modify) -- based on class contexts, you can modify and combine multiple OERs
  3. Create (Author) -- publish and license your own work as OER

For questions about OER that faculty frequently ask, please visit FAQ (by Open Oregon Educational Resources) 


Remarks (OER Organization and Community):

  1. Open Oregon Educational Resources is a state organization that promotes textbook affordability for Oregon’s college and university students in United States.
  2. BCcampus is a publicly funded organization that aims to unify British Columbia's post-secondary system and make higher education available to everyone, through the smart use of collaborative information technology services.
  3. The Open Education Network is a diverse community of higher education institutions that promote access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks.

a) Adopting OER

The evaluation and integration of the material into the course content is usually the duty of the faculty member. Other campus colleagues who are involved in the decision-making and delivery of instructional materials to students may also be able to support the adoption. 

Steps to adopt an open textbook: 

  1. Search for the suitable OER for your course.
  2. Review and evaluate the materials to see if it suits your teaching style and your students. Many open textbooks have been peer reviewed by faculty or subject matter experts. Use these reviews to narrow down choices. 
  3. Decide if you want to use the OER just as it is, or modify the contents.
  4. Attribute the OER.
  5. Deliver the OER to your students.


Guide for Adopting OER

b) Adapting OER

When compared with other forms of copyrighted materials, what makes OER exclusively useful is the fact that modifications (adaptations) may be made to the original. Faculty can add to, adapt, or remove the OER content to fit their specific course without the need to seek permission from the copyright holder. This is applicable if the copyright holder has already authorized permission by releasing their work using the Creative Commons license. 

Steps to modify an open textbook:

  1. Check the license of the textbook.
  2. Check the format of the textbook (HTML, Word, text or ePub files)
  3. Find tools for editing the open textbook (Dreameaver, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, PressBooks)
  4. Modify the OER. Attribute Creative Commons licensed works. 
  5. Choose a license after finishing creating a new version of the textbook. 
  6. Make the textbook available in appropriate formats for students (HTML website, ePub or PDF document)
  7. Host the open textbook for students to access (Moodle, repository, website)


Guides for Adapting OER

c) Creating OER

While there are so many OERs already available, you might still consider creating your own resource materials. These can include new or updated content from your field of study, integrating and developing concepts into different formats such as lecture notes, slides, quizzes, etc. Creating an OER also opens the possibility for including student contributions as part of the procedure. 

Steps to create OER: 

  1. Plan for the OER (your audience, expertise required)
  2. Pick a tool to create the OER (Pressbooks, GitBook by GitHub, Open Author by OER Commons)
  3. Create the OER
  4. Choose a license after finishing creating a new version of the textbook. 
  5. Make the textbook available in appropriate formats for students (HTML website, ePub or PDF document)
  6. Host the open textbook for students to access (Moodle, online repository, website)
  7. Actively update and evaluate the OER by gathering feedback, creating revisions or new editions.


Guides for Creating OER