Open Educational Resources (OER)

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About this guide

This research guide will familiarize faculty members with Open Educational Resources (OER) and the growing OER movement within higher education. Faculty can also use this guide to identify sources of high-quality OER for use in their courses.

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials that have been shared online such as textbooks, workbooks, and course modules that have been specifically labeled as free for anyone to download, customize and reuse.

Why should you consider OER?

Between 2008 and 2016 the cost of college textbooks has risen 88% (Bureau of Labor Statistics), and the College Board estimates that full-time students in 2-year colleges spent as much as $1300 per year (2015-2016) on textbooks. Struggling students and their families are increasingly forced to make hard choices about whether to purchase required course materials that they cannot afford or to attempt to pass their courses without them. Though students are the ones that have to pay for course textbooks, they have very little ability to influence the textbook market. Only Faculty members have the power to determine the amount of money students will have to spend on their course materials. Interested in replacing your expensive textbooks with an OER but don’t know how to get started? The library can help!
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This video “Why OER?” is licensed under CC BY by The Council of Chief State School Officers

This video “OER Basics” introduces OER and provides an overview on how to search for them. “OER Basics” is licensed under CC BY by Open Oregon

Frequently Asked Questions About OER

  • BC Campus OER Textbooks FAQ
  • SPARC FAQ for Educational Resources
  • Additional Information About OER

  • ACCESS DENIED: The New Face of the Textbook Monopoly (Student PIRGs September 21, 2016)
  • Fixing the Broken Textbook Market (Ethan Senack with the Student PIRGs January 2014)
  • Open Textbooks: More Information (The Student PIRGs)
  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Education Fact Sheet
  • White Paper:OER Adoption Study: Using Open Educational Resources in the College Classroom (CA OER Council April 1, 2016)
  • Adopting Open Educational Resources in the Classroom (A full, open Lumen Learning course on OER)
  • Your SBCC Luria Library

    SBCC Luria Library pays for faculty and students to have free access to thousands of academic journals available in our subscription databases. While not “open” these materials are available free of charge to SBCC students and faculty. See the list of databases available to you here. If you are looking for specific journal titles search here.Please contact one of your librarians for assistance.

    Multi-Subject Open Textbooks Databases

    California Open Online Library For Education

    COOL4Ed is a project of the California Open Educational Resources Council. It offers”149 free and open e-textbooks that have been reviewed by faculty colleagues in the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California.”

    MERLOT II

    Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching is one of the largest online repositories of open materials as well as a forum for collaboration and support of open education communities. It is program of the California State University System.

    OER Commons

    A searchable database of textbooks created by ISKME (The non-profit Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education).

    Open Textbook Library

    “A growing catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks”. This is a project of the Open Textbook Network, a collection of higher education institutions dedicated to promoting OER.

    B.C. Open Textbook Project

    Funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, these textbooks are openly licensed using a Creative Commons license, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge, or print on demand books available at cost.

    OpenStax College

    A project of Rice University, OpenStax has produced 25 textbooks written by subject experts. They have focused their efforts on producing textbooks for high-enrollment courses in higher education that have most the significant traditional textbook costs. OpenStax offers peer-reviews, supplemental materials, and support for faculty that adopt their open textbooks.

    CNX by OpenStax

    A collection of OER modules, textbooks, and course notes. The predecessor to the OpenStax Textbook project.

    Curated lists of OER by Subject

    Northwestern Michigan College has created a research guides for OER in Business, Computer Information Technologies, Economics, English, Geography, Geology & Oceanography, History, Humanities, Math, Psychology, Sciences, and Social Sciences.

    Additional Sources of OER Material

    Open Course Materials

    Curated by Open Washington.org

    SkillsCommons

    A project of the US Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) and managed by CSU, SkillsCommons is a curated library of open materials that support career and technology workforce development.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

    “DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.”

    Unsplash Photo Sharing

    Free and completely open high-resolution photos. Licensed with a Creative Commons Zero license.

    Wikimedia Commons

    A repository of free media files licensed for reuse (often with attribution or other limitations) from the Wikimedia Foundation.

    Project Gutenberg

    Over 53,000 free ebooks.

    The Internet Archive

    “Provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including web sites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books.”

    Textbook Affordability Program at Santa Barbara City College

    Background

    In response to student concerns about the current price of course materials, SBCC has secured a grant to provide professional development opportunities and support for faculty interested in switching from high-cost, traditionally published textbooks to free or low-cost Open Educational Resources.

    Please consult the flow chart and stipend structure for Open Educational Resources adoption guidelines and incentives.

    Get Help

  • For questions about OER, stipends, and the SBCC Textbook Affordability Program contact program coordinator Camerin Poulson
  • For assistance finding OER and supplemental library materials contact Reference Librarian Michelle Bone, Instruction Coordinator Librarian Ellen Carey, or Camerin Poulson.
  • For technical and design assistance incorporating OER into your course contact the Faculty Resource Center.
  • For questions about how to offer print copies of your OER through the bookstore contact Shane Bandy
  • To get a print copy of your OER placed on the library reserve contact Camerin Poulson.

  • Types of Creative Commons licences

    Open Educational Resources are considered “open” when they allow for the “5 Rs”:

  • Retain – Make own and control copies of the content
  • Reuse – Reuse the content in a variety of ways
  • Revise – Adapt, adjust, or alter the content
  • Remix – Combine with other OER content to make something new
  • Redistribute – Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or remixed with others
  • Learn more about Creative Commons Licenses here.

    Need Help citing Creative Commons materials properly?

    Use this nifty Open Attribution Builder from Open Washington.

    Need a refresher on Copyright basics?

    Check out this Lumen Learning Course Module.