An Introduction to Open Educational Resources" by Abbey Elder is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International license.
When considering the adoption of OER into college classrooms, faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants first need to consider various factors about the materials that could impact student usage. Access to free textbooks is the most obvious benefit of OER, but other factors need to be evaluated as well.
The relevance of OER to the course content is indisputable. That said, before latching onto a particular resource, make sure that it covers your course objectives. Don't waste your or your students' time listing an OER in your syllabus that you haven't fully explored to make sure it matches your course content.
Accuracy and quality should likewise impact your decision to integrate a particular OER into your course. Often, faculty resist using OER because of the theoretical lack of academic rigor applied to its creation, but many OER repositories have some form of quality control. This usually falls comes in one of two forms:
If you are deliberating using a particular OER, check to see what sort of review process is available. Similarly, if you find glaring content, language, or formatting errors or inconsistencies, you probably need to move to your next available option.
In terms of accessibility, instructors should remember to keep the following details in mind:
Interactivity is yet another factor of OER to scrutinize prior to adoption. As designed for online materials, OER can allow for interactive elements such as video, audio, and hands on learning. The very nature of OER allows instructors to compile material from a variety of sources to fit their individual course needs, so it is possible that you will need to find or build your own homework assignments or assessments in addition to whatever texts you have selected.
Finally, OER licensing is a necessary element to remember when making your course content selections. Use the 5Rs to think about how you plan to use the OER. Which of these uses will you need?
For a refresher about the tiered levels of public domain, copyright, open access, and Creative Commons licensing, please refer to the Creative Commons page within this LibGuide.
With so many freely available resources online, choosing OER can be overwhelming. This checklist contains some suggestions for faculty when choosing resources for use in the classroom.
This guide is a creation of the BCOER, a group of BC postsecondary librarians working together to support the use of quality Open Educational Resources (OER). For more information about BCOER and its activities, go to open.bccampus.ca.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.