Open educational resources (OER) are freely available learning materials that are becoming more popular as a strategy for providing students with an alternative to costly textbooks. Knowing that their students are already challenged by the cost of higher education, many faculty are looking for ways to help students save money. Adopting openly accessible textbooks and other open learning content is one way to do that. But it also has other advantages, the primary one being that it can enhance student success by making learning materials affordable. Research has shown that many students don’t buy an expensive textbook or they try to share it with other students. That detracts from learning.
How do you get started with OER if you are interested in learning more about the resources and how to integrate them into a learning environment? Campus Technology recently published a good introduction to OER in the August 2014 issue. “Complete Guide to OER” starts with a definition: “Teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain…and includes full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, texts, software, and other materials used to access knowledge.”
It then provides a good overview that includes four myths about OER, six tips for using OER, six arguments for OER, 18 sites for finding OER, ideas for spreading the word about OER on campus, and some information about OER formats.
The other way to learn more about OER and how it’s being used at Temple University is to explore our Alternate Textbook Project website. The Temple University Libraries has offered support for faculty to replace their traditional commercial textbook with other materials, including OER. There are examples of projects and links to additional resources. If you would like to learn more about the Alternate Textbook Project or OER, please contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.