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We usually do one of three things when we find OER: adopt, adapt, or remix. Although an open license allows for adaptation or remixing, sometimes the OER you find is fine as-is. However, as faculty well know, adopting a new resource wholesale, whether an entire textbook or one small piece of content, doesn't come without work attached. This page focuses on best practices for adopting OER.
Just as you evaluate commercially published content before using it in your course, you'll want to evaluate the OERs you find to make sure they are of high quality. Here are some factors you might want to consider:
- How does the content fit your learning objectives?
- Is the format appropriate for the use you have in mind?
- Does the content encourage active learning?
- What changes would you have to make to your course to fit this in?
- Is the content well organized?
- Is it at an appropriate reading level for your students?
- Are instructions for assignments and exercises clear?
- Is the content factually correct?
- Is the content misleading or biased in any way?
- Is the content up to date?
- Are there any errors that need to be fixed?
- Are there barriers or hoops to jump through, such as signing up for an account?
- Is the content well-organized for use with a screen reader or mobile device?
- Is the content available in multiple formats?
- Do images have alt text?
- Are videos captioned or transcripted?
- Diversity & Inclusion:
- Do images and examples represent people from different backgrounds?
- Is the language inclusive?
- Is the content culturally sensitive?
Rubric for Evaluating OERs
by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, BC Campus, and Open SUNY, is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
"Open Pedagogy" refers to activities you and your students can do with openly licensed content that aren't possible with traditionally licensed content. It also refers to assignments that create lasting value after a course is over. Here are some common examples of assignments based on open pedagogy:
- Authoring or editing Wikipedia articles
- Annotating or adding to an open textbook
- Creating content such as videos or blogs
- Writing practice questions for future students
To learn more:
A resource for educators interested in learning more about open pedagogy, with an in-depth definition and examples
Since OERs give you license to redistribute content, you have many options for sharing OERs with your students:
If you have a professional website or a website for your course, you can post openly licensed content there.
FHSU Digital Press (Pressbooks)
Pressbooks is a book publishing platform that FHSU subscribes to. If you'd like your own copy of an open textbook, we can host it here.
Openly licensed content can be posted in Blackboard due to the lack of restrictions on re-distribution.
Dropbox is a file-sharing service. You can post openly licensed content for your students to download.
Google Drive can be used to post openly licensed content for your students to download or edit collaboratively.
Investigating Print Options
Many faculty prefer that their students use print resources, and some students prefer to use print resources. If you wish to make print versions of open content available for your students, here are some options:
FHSU Bookstore Website
If you upload openly licensed content to the bookstore's course-pack builder, it can be printed and bound for students. Please also include a link to the content so that students know the online version is free.
FHSU Printing Services
provides a number of options for printing content. You might consider ordering departmental copies of your openly licensed content that can be lent to students and collected at the end of the semester.