2014 article that offers a vision for how librarians and faculty can collaborate in making OER more widely adopted by faculty and make higher education more affordable for students.
OER Book Fair: February 6, 2024
Join us for Kirkwood's first ever OER Book Fair!
Come in person or online on Tuesday, February 6th for an immersive exploration into the world of Open Educational Resources (OER)! Whether you're a seasoned OER advocate or just getting started, this event is designed to showcase the incredible benefits of OER and provide valuable resources for adopting, remixing, or authoring your own OER materials.
In-person and virtual options: Choose to attend in person at the Learning Commons, join us online via Zoom, or some of each! We've created a flexible experience to accommodate your preferences and schedule.
Drop by the Learning Commons (2071 Cedar Hall) between 10:30am and 1:30pm to see our faculty showcase, talk with faculty OER adopters, and learn more from key supporting players from the library, bookstore, and instructional design. Come any time and find helpful, knowledgeable, experienced colleagues to help answer your questions, give you feedback and ideas for your own OER adoption or project.
Plan to join us live on Zoom from 11:15 to 12:15. Learn from your colleagues as they share their experience, successes, and creative use of OER in their courses. Discover firsthand the impact OER can have on student learning outcomes and engagement.
We need your help! Please take a few minutes time to answer some questions about your current and future needs related to OER. We will use this to help us plan for future support of faculty interested in OER adoption.
Pressbooks is an online ebook platform with a single interface for authoring, adding, editing, remixing, and distributing OER. It has an easy to read online interface, and provides each ebook in a variety of formats to meet any student need, with PDF, ePUB, MOBI, and Webbook.
Learn more about what you can do with Pressbooks in the video below, or follow the link to get started with your own account.
OER stands for Open Educational Resources, and is a term that refers to any educational resources that are typically:
Free to access online
Low cost to get a print copy
Licensed by the author/creator with rights that are less restrictive than copyright (i.e. all rights reserved). This license typically (though not always) includes the right of any user to copy (digitally) & print the text as well as the right to adapt it as desired for use in a course, as long as authorship is attributed and use is non-commercial.
Open Textbook is a specific type of OER that is designed to be a free or low cost substitute for a traditional textbook.
Adopting OER or an Open Textbook for your course can be approached in a number of different ways, however there is a basic process that can serve as a guide as you get started.
For a more detailed introduction, try our new self-paced OER Tutorial. No registration, just jump in.
1. Define your need:
Do you want to piece together a variety of resources, or find a whole textbook replacement?
Use a backwards design approach and work from your course learning objectives to keep your search organized and on track.
Be prepared that the search process is often messy and may feel never-ending! Be sure to ask a librarian or ask colleagues for ideas on resources they've used.
Try several different sources (we have many indexed under the "Finding OER" tab), and keep track of the search terms you've tried and the sites you've searched.
3. Identify & Evaluate:
Evaluating OER is similar to evaluating possible textbook adoptions, like assessing the reading level and how well it matches your learning objectives. But remember that with open-licensed materials you have the flexibility to adapt the content to what works for you.
Peer review of material available on many OER sites
Reputation of author or institution
Accuracy of content
Alignment with course objectives or learning outcomes
Consider the possible stakeholders in your choice of course materials. For example:
your discipline colleagues
the Kirkwood Bookstore (even if you're not adopting a traditional textbook, they like to know so that the cost savings of materials can be shared with potential students)
Any of these stakeholders could potentially be great allies in your changeover to open resources.
How will students access and use these resources? Will you post a link to materials in your Talon?
Will students need paper copies, such as for a lab book or readings to be used in class? There are many options for having materials printed, and Kirkwood's Bookstore is a great resource for discussing your options. Because of the open licensing of OER, the Bookstore can often have a whole book printed for students at a very low cost.
A faculty resource for adopting, using and re-purposing openly licensed educational resources. This course provides faculty with an introduction to the laws that influence the use, re-use, and distribution of content they may want to use in a course. Activities include finding openly licensed content for use in a class and publishing openly licensed works created by faculty. At the end of the course, students will have openly licensed content that will be ready for use in a course.
"This course walks you through techniques to incorporate Open Educational Resources (OER) into your teaching practice. The course will cover the fundamental aspects of OER including open licensing and public domain. It focuses on providing practical guidance in locating and applying openly available resources."
"These are ideal for faculty, librarians, and instructional designers who are new to OER or need a refresher on basic concepts related to finding, adapting, and teaching with open educational resources." Modules included: Introduction to OER, Copyright & Open Licensing Applied, Searching for OER by Discipline, Designing Courses with OER, and Evaluating and Selecting OER.
Q: It's nice to save students money, but my students truly need print books. Doesn't that mean I need to stick with traditional textbook publishers?
A: There is always a print option for OER. Sometimes the OER platform itself will offer a printed and bound textbook which can be ordered directly from the website, or purchase can be brokered through the Kirkwood Bookstore, as a traditional textbook would be. Because students are mostly only paying for the actual print and distribution costs, the price of the printed OER will still be substantially lower than that of a traditional textbook.
If a printed copy isn't available, or if you are using your own compilation of OER (and/or some copyrighted materials that you've determined fall under fair use), the Kirkwood Bookstore will work with you to create a course pack for your students to purchase at the Bookstore, again, at a substantially lower cost than a traditional textbook.
Q: I understand that textbooks can be very expensive, but I don't want to take business away from our bookstore. Doesn't the bookstore need us to continue in the way we always have?
A: There are a few different responses to this concern
First, our Kirkwood Bookstore team is very supportive of OER as one option for decreasing the course materials cost for students.
Second, using OER doesn't necessarily mean e-book only, and doesn't necessarily mean the bookstore won't have any profits. The open licensing typically means that materials are free online and low-cost to print. The bookstore might work with print services to offer a print copy for sale through the bookstore, or they might work with a publisher to provide copies for sale at a substantially lower price than traditional textbooks.
Third, bookstores are changing and adapting with technologies as we all do, Kirkwood's EagleTech store being a perfect example of this.
Q: As a faculty I depend on the test banks that publishers provide with a textbook adoption. Do OER or Open Textbooks provide test banks? And if they're open, what's to prevent a student for getting access to them?
A: Many open resources do provide test banks (and power points, and other supplementals we're used to getting from a publisher). To answer the question about "protected resources" we went to Nicole Finkbeiner, Associate Director of Institutional Relations, Rice University's OpenStax College:
"In terms of "protected" resources such as test banks, you have to find a way for students to not be able to access these. And, you don't want to openly license these because then you have no way to combat them being published. At Rice University’s OpenStax College, our website is set-up so faculty have to first register for an account and then request faculty access prior to being able to download them. We check every single account to ensure the right official email is used, they are in fact teaching a course where they would need the resources, etc. Sometimes we even call the department chair directly to make sure we should be providing access, so this is definitely a labor-intensive process, but I think it is worth it to protect the resources.
Faculty should also be very careful not to post any protected OER resources in a public environment, such as a website."
Q: I am nervous about letting go of my textbook because I don't know if OER/Open Textbook authors will keep the resources up to date. How can I trust that the resources I select will be kept current and accurate?
A: It's true that adopting open resources in place of a traditionally published textbook involves a change in how you think about your course textbook. Adopting OER involves a feeling of ownership of the course resources that you might not experience with a traditional textbook. Because of the open licensing you are free to update the material as you see fit, as long as it has the appropriate Creative Commons licensing. Due to the open nature of these resources, collaboration with other instructors (within our outside this institution) or with your students to improve the open resources you use is a common occurrence, and means the work of updating is spread across many people instead of sitting solely with you. Yes, it's a shift of perspective, but it's an exciting one, full of potential.
Also: there are a growing number of open textbooks that have the kind of publisher services faculty expect, with regular updates, printed and bound copies available for purchase, test banks and other instructor supplementals. See especially OpenStax and BCCampus.
Why would an author give away their work for free if it is high quality? How is this model sustainable?
One misconception about OER is that authors are “giving away” their work, and giving away their ownership of what they’re created. This is a myth for the following reasons:
1. OER authors still retain ownership of their creations. Creative Commons (a form of open licensing) actually gives authors very precise control over how their work may be used and how it should be attributed. In fact OER authors often enjoy more freedom to use, share and adapt their own works than they would under a restrictive license with a publisher.
2. Many OER authors do get paid for their work, they simply don’t receive royalties. Some are paid by their college through a stipend, some are awarded grants through non-profit organizations or government agencies.