OER Guide for Faculty

Open educational resources are “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

(Hewlett Foundation, n.d.)

The Basics

Open Education 

A broad, international movement that includes Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open universities, and open educational resources (OER). Open education is an international movement that aims to secure the human right to education by making it accessible to all.

Watch Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani’s talk at the United Nations, Open Educational Practices in Service of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Hewlett Foundation defines open education as the myriad of learning resources, teaching practices and education policies that use the flexibility of OER to provide learners with high quality educational experiences.

Take a look at the Open Education Conference from 2020, which is available for free online to see how faculty, staff, students, and administrators enact and debate open education.

Open Pedagogy

A contested term. More conservative applications (e.g., OER-enabled pedagogy) focus on co-creating resources with students and designing assignments that are openly licensed and publicly accessible.

Take a look

More radical approaches (like critical digital pedagogy and open educational practices) understand opennesss as a value, addressing structural barriers to student success (e.g., opening a student food pantry or childcare service). Similarly, they combine anti-oppressive and liberatory pedagogies with networked learning facilitated by digital collaboration.

Take a look at the Open Pedagogy Notebook to get started. You can also look for open pedagogy, open educational practices, and critical digital pedagogy in the academic literature, and you might be surprised to find something within your discipline!

Open textbooks

Open textbooks are a good introduction for faculty exploring open education. A commercial textbook and an open one are likely to include similar components and content, but open textbooks carry an open copyright license—most often, a Creative Commons license. Instead of reserving all rights to a commercial textbook publisher, open licenses permit faculty and students to access the textbook for free and use its content in transformative ways.

Read Abbey Elder and Stacy Katz’s OER Starter Kit Workbook.

You might also find my open access teaching note on adopting, adapting, and creating open textbooks in the Journal of Social Work Education to be useful.

Open Platforms

Open education is about building community using digital technology. Open platforms are a place for faculty to build, discover, and share pedagogical resources which are free to access and adaptable by other teachers. Open platforms are community-run, and they provide a more permanent home for resources than a closed learning management system (LMS).

OER Repositories

Open Textbook Library (includes peer review info!)
Rebus Directory
Libretexts (includes OER builder!)
OER Commons (includes OER builder!)
Merlot (includes OER builder!)
Prof2Prof (founded by a social worker!)

Open Textbook Platforms

Kindle Direct Publishing

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