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Open Educational Resources (OERs): Adopting OER

A guide for FHSU faculty and students to help navigate the world of OERs.

Defining Adoption

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.

Evaluating 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:

  • Appropriateness:
    • 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?
  • Clarity: 
    • Is the content well organized?
    • Is it at an appropriate reading level for your students?
    • Are instructions for assignments and exercises clear?
  • Accuracy:
    • 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?
  • Accessibility:
    • 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?

Based on:

Open Pedagogy

"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:

Distributing OER

Since OERs give you license to redistribute content, you have many options for sharing OERs with your students:

  • Faculty website

If you have a professional website or a website for your course, you can post openly licensed content there.

Based on:

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:


The content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license.