OER stands for “Open Education Resources” and is linked to an educational movement that began about 20 years ago and has become a global educational movement.  Instructors who use OER course material in their courses are using freely available, high-quality educational resources in order to bring textbook costs down for students.  OER, in essence, are freely available, openly licensed resources such as textbooks, media, videos, articles and more – that are useful for teaching, learning and accessing as well as for research purposes.

Interested in trying out Open Education Resources in your course?  Follow these easy steps to begin:

Step 1: Understanding the Benefits of Open  Education Resources

Using Open Education Resources in your course provides many benefits, but here are just a few to consider:

  • Equity to Students: Students will have access to quality learning materials that can be accessed repeatedly without any access roadblocks.
  • Saves Money: Students may save on the purchase of textbooks or course materials.
  • Scalability: Instructors can easily adopt OER material that can be distributed widely with little or no cost.
  • Enhancement of regular course content: multimedia, images and other resources allow for students to receive content in different formats that match with their learning styles.

Step 2:  Become Familiar with OER Licensing

Before finding OER material for your course, step two is becoming familiar with OER licensing and terminology, as faculty will have to cite the OER material and license used in their courses.  The person who creates OER content decides how the content they created can be used by other educators.  For example, they decide the following:

  • Content can only be Adopted = the OER resource can only be used “as-is”
  • Content can be Adapted = the OER resource can be revised, updated, and converted as long as the original source is cited.
Want to share your content with other educators? Faculty can create their own OER material and share with other educators.  In doing so, they would select how they wish to license their OER content (Adopted or Adapted).  Instructors can contact the Teaching and Learning Center or the SSC library to obtain a list of free OER platforms to publish shareable content. 

When selecting an OER resource: Faculty must make sure the license for that content also allows for the use, modifications, and distribution. These are commonly known as the 5Rs – Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute. 

  • Retain – allows instructors to make, own, and control a copy of the OER resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  • Revise – allows instructors to edit, adapt, and modify a copy of the OER resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  • Remix – allows instructors to combine OER content (include their own creation) to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  • Reuse – allows instructors to use original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  • Redistribute – allows instructors to share copies of original, revised, or remixed copy of the OER resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

Watch a short video explaining:

“OER Bootcamp 0: What OER’s are and why they are important” video by Sarah Morehead on YouTube  and licensed under CC BY 4.0 .

Step 3: Find a free OER resource to use in your course

There are a variety of OER repositories, collections, and directories and the list is endless.  Often the trouble lies with locating content that fits precisely with what the instructor is seeking.

Below are just a few resources to get instructor’s started.

Watch a short video explaining:

“OER Search” video by Amy Hofer at Open Oregon on YouTube and licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Need help citing the OER source you plan to use? If instructors use OER resources, make sure to properly cite your source.  Visit the free Attribution Builder – enter the source and license to generate an OER cite to post with your course material.  

Step 4: Calculate cost savings to your students?

If you are an instructor at SSC and plan to use Open Education Resources in your course, let the Teaching and Learning Center and SSC Library know by completing this short 4-question form.   Completing this form will allow us to calculate cost savings to students.

Need more assistance in getting started? Make an appointment with the Teaching and Learning Center and SSC Library by emailing ssconlne@ssc.edu.