Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials (including textbooks, courses, learning objects, tests, media, etc.) that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. (Learn more about OER in our Research Guide)
Brock University Library can support faculty and instructors interested in using, adapting, or creating OERs in their courses or programs. Support for OER use is part of our broader commitment to helping faculty make course materials more affordable for students, which we also do through the course readings service.
You can count on the Library and the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation for support and expertise.
How to use OER
If you are new to OER, you may be wondering how to approach using them. The following is a step-by-step example of a common approach. Note the flexibility – you can use an existing OER (like an e-textbook) as-is, you can adapt (use certain pieces, add new content, re-write, etc.), or you can create your own from new or existing learning materials. Expand each section to learn more.
- Start by looking for suitable resources that will contribute to your instructional objectives. Search dedicated OER repositories, like the eCampusOntario Open Library or the Open Textbook Library
- Consider your own materials that may be available offline, including lecture notes, handouts and other resources prepared previously. Check our Copyright policies to see if a material you’ve developed can be used and shared as OER, with an open licence.
- With your collection of resources at your disposal, start piecing them together to create a learning resource or set of resources to meet your instructional objectives and learning outcomes.
- This is a creative design process of building an educational resource from scratch and/or using components you have found.
- You may wish to engage the expertise at the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation as you think through your learning objectives.
- As you compose, use OER authoring tools to support your work.
- You may decide to use the OER that you compile “as is,” by printing or downloading them, or sharing the links with your students.
- You may also decide to adapt the resources to local needs, or even revise them later based on feedback once implemented.
- Your adaptations may involve minor corrections and improvements, remixing or adding new components, or even completely reworking the resources.
- Ensure the OER are accessible. Resources to assist you with this process are available from the University of British Columbia’s OER Accessibility Toolkit.
- Through open licensing, OER opens up possibilities for new, more collaborative teaching and learning practices–because the materials can be used, adapted and shared within and across learning communities.
- As you implement OER in your courses, take advantage of these possibilities. Pair up with a colleague on the implementation of OER, invite peer and student critique of the materials, or engage students as co-creators in OER-based assignments.
- View some of the OER that have been created locally at Brock University, to get a sense of how OER are being used in other classes.
- Make your resources available for your peers and the open education community to find, and to begin the life cycle again.
- Add descriptors so that others can find and use the resource, and select the appropriate licence for any new/adapted resources.
- Access online tools that can help you describe and share your resources. Try OER Commons.
- Brock University Library can help you navigate licenses and options for sharing,
How the Library can help
If you’re ready to take the next step toward finding, using, or adapting OER, we’re ready to help.
|You bring:||Librarians can:|
|Knowledge of course objectives||Help you identify existing OER materials, including alternatives to textbooks, for your course|
|Understanding of student needs and learning styles||Provide options for ways that students can access resources|
|Expertise in evaluating resources for use and application in a course||Advise on how to make resources more accessible|
|Experience in constructing and authoring instructional materials||Help you share your resource, and make it more discoverable for future audiences|
|Expertise in various pedagogical approaches and curriculum implementation||Advise on issues of copyright and fair dealing|
|Advise on use of Creative Commons licences|