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Open Education Resources

Getting Started With OER

You've decided that you wish to replace your commercially produced textbook with Open Education Resources - what next? There are many different paths you can take when searching for OER. This basic guide will help you get started in your search. (Alternatively, submit your syllabus for review by one of our librarians who can give recommendations on what resources are available for your course.)

1. Consider your learning objectives.

Instead of focusing on finding a free equivalent of your current textbook, orient your search around your learning objectives. What would you like your students to know or be able to do?

2. Define your needs.

Are your learning objectives being met by your current materials? Are there things you wish to keep? Are you going to start small and integrate some OER (videos, class activities etc) into your course or are you going to replace your entire course materials? Do you want a textbook or a variety of resources?

3. Search.

There are many places you can find OER materials. Check if somebody has already created a complete textbook or course that fits your needs. Otherwise begin searching the major repositories for materials you can combine to address specific needs in your course.

4. Evaluate.

Evaluate potential resources like you would any traditionally licensed material. Consider if the material is reviewed, the reputation of the author or institution, the learning outcomes, the technical quality, and the licensing declaration. Use these two evaluation rubrics to help you:

OER Evaluation Criteria from Affordable Learning Georgia.

Open Educational Resources Evaluation Tool Handbook from Achieve.org.

5. Adopt and use.

Congratulations - you've find your materials. Decide whether to use the materials as is or whether to adapt and remix them. For help adapting a textbook, check out:

The BC Campus guide, Six Steps of Modifying an Open Textbook.

Modifying an Open Textbook by the Rebus Community.

6. Give back.

Open Education relies on the academic community sharing resources and information. If you have adapted or created a resource, share it so that others can use it. If you have simply adopted a textbook provide reviews and feedback to help others make informed choices about adopting their own resources.