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Open Educational Resources (OER): Home

A guide for faculty about open educational resources. These resources can be used as a replacement for traditional textbooks or as supplemental material.

About Open Educational Resources

Open Education " the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the (Internet) in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge.

Open Education 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." - The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Examples of OERs include:

  • Electronic textbooks (peer-reviewed and updated) with accompanying learning materials such as quizzes, worksheets, multimedia resources, and lecture materials
  • Full university courses including presentations, reading materials, lecture notes, videos, and homework assignments
  • Interactive mini-lessons and simulations about a specific topic, 

An introduction to OERs:

A small working group from the Iowa Open Education Action Team has recently developed a new resource for Open Education support staff, faculty, and advocates: Open Education in Promotion, Tenure, and Faculty Development. This new resource aims to help faculty and staff advocate for themselves and others in discussions around open education work in promotion and tenure.

A critical part of sustaining Open Educational Resources (OER) in higher education is recognizing the contributions by instructors who create and improve them as part of their professional work.  In order to aid this effort, Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) has developed an adaptable advisory model to help guide faculty as they attempt to include their OER work in their tenure and promotion portfolios. Visit the OER in Promotion and Tenure Matrix.

Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) simply means that students do not incur costs for purchasing or accessing course materials. Zero cost to students does not guarantee zero cost to the institution. For example, instructors may use library subscription databases, platforms, or equipment that require licensing or purchase by the College. 

To create a ZTC course, instructors might use open educational resources, open access materials, materials that use Creative Commons licenses, works in the public domain, resources owned or licensed by the Libraries, or teacher-created materials.

(Adapted from "Open Educational Resources @ MJC" by Modesto Junior College, under CC-BY-NC 4.0)

Openwashing: "having an appearance of open-source and open-licensing for marketing purposes, while continuing proprietary practices."
--Audrey Watters

What is 'Open'? Openwashing and the Half-Truths about Openness
Henry Kronk
ELearning Inside, January 1, 2018