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Open Textbooks, OER & Other Open or Free Resources for Faculty

A guide to exploring open textbook options for faculty.

Sharing OER Content with Students: Best Practices

One of the great things about OER is the flexibility of formatting due to the open licensing. Content can be reformatted, downloaded, or printed. However, for ease of use by students, these are some general guidelines:

  1. Mix and match content from multiple sources to best suit your learning objectives. 
  2. Embed videos when possible rather than linking out. This means less clicking for students and less confusion in trying to navigate back to Talon or follow the progression of content in a module or lesson.
  3. If using an e-book with a detailed table of contents, provide direct links to specific books sections or chapters. Again, this eases navigation for students.
  4. If using short PDF documents, upload them as files to open in the content frame. This allows students to quickly read the content online from within Talon. However they will also have the option to download for offline reading or printing if they choose.
  5. For longer documents, such as books, either link out to the original and set to open in a new window, or edit into shorter chunks and upload as individual files into Talon. This way students don't need to load a huge file every time they want to study a reading.

Helping Students Use Their Digital Textbook

  • Using PDFs in Preview & Using PDFs in Adobe Reader  These YouTube videos show students how to do more than just read PDF documents or print them. Learn how to modify PDF documents to enable annotating and note-taking. 
  • Getting to Know a Digital Textbook  Article written by Dr. Terence Cavanaugh, professor at the Univeristy of North Florida detailing ways to make your open digital textbook more familiar and helpful to students by showing students how they can use free online programs to create their own audio textbooks, create study notes from their text and more.
  • Reading Online  Links to resources for helping students read online.
  • Hypothesis is a tool that allows annotation of online texts.

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