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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

What is an OER?
Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others.    

from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

OERs allow people to: 
  • Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways
  • Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself
  • Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new
  • Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others


Why choose OERs?
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Creative Commons License
Lansing Community College (LCC) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Regina Gong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
How do I find OERs?
OER Repositories
There are a number of collections of Open Educational Resources that may be searched for potential course materials.  Some materials, due to their open license and popularity, may appear in multiple collections.

OpenStax College
An initiative of Rice University that provides free, faculty-authored and peer-reviewed online textbooks.  The website currently provides textbooks for introductory courses in mathematics, science, and social science disciplines.  The materials are readable on the web, are downloadable in PDF and EPUB formats, and can be printed for just the cost of printing.  Textbooks are customizable through a resource sharing platform, OpenStax CNX.

A repository hosted at California State University that contains over 40,000 materials, many of which have undergone some level of peer review.  It contains both unique resources and resources redistributed from other sites, with material types ranging from textbooks to case studies and quizzes.  Offers a tool to edit and “remix” existing open resources or to create and share your own.

OER Commons 
Created by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.  It contains nearly 60,000 diverse college-level materials. Includes a tool called Open Author for creating and sharing text or multimedia learning resources.

BCcampus Open Textbook Project
Initiative of British Columbia to make open textbooks avaiable for especially high-enrollment courses.

EdX, OpenCourseWare, Khan Academy and other online course sites offer course notes, reading and assignment ideas, and multimedia components that may have an open license.
Open Textbook Collections
Open SUNY Textbooks - from State University of New York Libraries

Open Textbook Library - from the University of Minnesota

OpenStax - from Rice University

Merlot II California State University System

H20 Classroom Tools - online classroom tools developed and provided by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Library.

BCcampus OpenEd - open textbooks for the 40 highest enrolled first- and second-year subject areas in British Columbia's public, post-secondary system

College Open Textbooks Collaborative - focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open and peer-reviewed textbooks to more than 2,000 community colleges

Saylor Academy - non-profit dedicated to openly available, vetted textbooks.

Boundless - content created by a community of educators
Library E-Books as Textbook Alternative
Library E-books can also be used as textbook alternatives or supplemental materials to enhance delivery of your course. Chapters or pages within an E-book can be linked directly to your ECLearn pages. 
Political Science
Faculty discuss their experiences with OER
Robin Araniva, Associate Faculty in Science at Everett Community College

Shelli Jordan-Zirkle teaches U.S. History courses at Everett Community College

from Open Washington: Open Educational Resources Network
How do I adopt an OER textbook?
Provide your students an alternative to expensive textbooks by following these steps:
  1. Find the right textbook by browsing through some of the resources listed in this guide.
  2. Search for the appropriate textbooks for your course.
  3. Review and evaluate the textbooks based on the content and whether it suits your teaching style and your students.
  4. Decide if you want to use the textbook as is, edit, or modify the contents. One of the benefits of open textbooks is flexibility to customize them for specific course designs as much or as little as you desire. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the licensing allows that. Different repositories will have different options for editing and publishing revised copies.
  5. Distribute to your students by uploading into your ECLearn page. You can select the best format to distribute to your class such as online, or downloadable PDF.
OERs @Emmanuel
Check this space for examples of faculty members using OERs in their courses at Emmanuel.

Content coming soon...
How do I evaluate an OER?
As faculty, you assess textbooks against a set of criteria that reflects your long experience and knowledge of student needs. You do the same with Open Textbooks, but there are a few additional considerations.

  • Accuracy of material
  • Richness
  • Depth
  • Breadth
  • Timeliness
  • Cultural context
  • Writing quality and tone
  • Reading level
  • Organization
  • Visual presentation
  • Hierarchy of information
  • Collateral materials

Additional Criteria for Considetation
  • Accessibility online
  • Production options - Is the book available in more than one format? Printed? Bound? PDF?
  • Delivery options - Is a bound copy available at a very low price? Will your bookstore be able to carry the printed version?
  • Interactivity  - If the online version includes interactive software or multi-media files, are they accessible and cross platform?
  • Consistency between online and printed presentation-Are the online and printed versions comparable in organization and basic appearance? Will you be able to identify locations in either with minimal confusion for students?
  • Collateral material - If there are test banks, interactives, or other enrichment materials, are they in a format you can use? Are they accessible? Are they free or very inexpensive?
Creative Commons License
Lansing Community College (LCC) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Regina Gong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Open licenses and how they work?
Understanding licenses
Difference between open license, public domain and all rights reserved copyright

Image by Boyoung Chae (Own work) [CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 
What is a Creatve Commons license