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Open Educational Resources for Faculty

What is OER?


Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free and openly licensed for others to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the work. Creative Commons, for example, offers open licensing tools that allow creators to retain copyright over their work while explicitly allowing and encouraging others to copy and reuse their work according to the set permissions. 


What's the difference between Open Access (OA) and OER?

Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resource (OER) content are very similar in the sense that they are both freely accessible content. 

  • Open Educational Resource materials, such as textbooks, course modules, videos, and test banks, are typically related to teaching and learning. In addition to being freely accessible, they are also openly licensed for revision. 
  • Open Access materials, such as scholarly articles published by OA journals, are typically related to research and scholarship and are freely available online. They are typically not licensed for revision or remixing.

This infographic by Anita Walz provides a more in-depth explanation of the overlaps and distinctions between OER and OA. 

Why use OER?

Reduce student costs: The high cost of commercial textbooks and course materials has a negative impact on student success and retention. A 2016 survey found that 66% of college students did not purchase or rent a required textbook because of its cost. 

Enable timely access to course materials: In addition to being free of cost, OER are also available online, often in multiple formats (HTML, PDF), which allows for day-one access. 

Contribute to a culture of creative collaboration, open pedagogy, and accessible learning environments. 

What if you can't find existing OER materials for your course?

You may not be able to find an existing OER textbook or resource that meets the needs of your course. If that's the case, there are other options for increasing access to materials for students!

  1. Course reserves: Provide 1-2 copies of required course materials for short-term in-library use during the session.
  2. Library-licensed course materials: Take advantage of the resources that are provided by the Spalding University Library. Ebooks and online journal articles are free and accessible for students. Consult a librarian if there are course materials that you'd like to see in the collection!
  3. Consider revising or remixing existing OER content. Or, create your own OER! 
  4. Ask a librarian: We’re here to help you find, reuse, and revise OER. 


Understanding OER

Spalding University “Welcome Week” Teaching Mini-Conference
Understanding Open Educational Resources (OER). Presented by:
Leah Cover, MA, MLS, Instruction and Learning Services Librarian
Brandi Duggins, MSLS, Access Services Librarian
Giving students access to affordable materials from day one of the class can make a big difference in their success and retention. Learn about
options for OER in your discipline and how you can incorporate these materials into any of your courses.