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Open Educational Resources (OER): Tools for Affordable Learning

This guide describes high-quality educational resources that can be used to decrease material costs for courses at WSU and in higher education more broadly.

Sample OER

Overwhelmed by the number of options available in open education? This page is meant to give you a glimpse of OER in action and perhaps inspire a project of your own. If you're exploring OERs, you might consider an experiment---review an open textbook or switch over some of your course content to OER even if you keep a traditional textbook.

Adopt an Open Textbook

OpenStax Biology  OpenStax Sociology textbook  Anatomy and Physiology textbook by OpenStax

If you don't have the time to develop your own OER, consider adopting an open textbook like these OpenStax books. When searching out open textbooks, a good place to start is the Open Textbook Library by the University of Minnesota but consider other sources as well, such as BCcampus and Milne Open Textbooks.

Create Open Content

British Columbia in a Global Context textbook

This open textbook was created by a team of faculty members and instructional designers in British Columbia. British Columbia in a Global Context is unique in that it was created during a four-day book sprint. Following an intensive week of development, the book was edited and shared online via PressBooks, where it is now publicly available.

Republish a Textbook

ActiveEpi webpage

ActivEpi Web, by Emory University professor David Kleinbaum, is an interactive resource for learning the basics of epidemiology. The site includes "study designs, measures of frequency and effect, potential impact, overview of validity, selection information and confounding bias, effect modification, analysis of 2x2 tables, options for control of variables, stratified analysis, matching and introduction to logistic regression."

ActivEpi Web was previously published on CD ROM but transferred by Kleinbaum to a website to increase access to course materials for students in the U.S. and around the world.

Remix Anthologies and Case Studies

OpenModernisms homepage screenshot showing the Open Case Studies project

Open Modernisms is an option for social science and humanities scholars who would like to remix their own anthologies to feature non-copyrighted primary source material dating from 1850-1950. This platform allows instructors to either remix material already hosted on the site or upload their own material, add notes, and print the results as a pdf for distribution to students.

Open Case Studies is a project by the University of British Columbia that presents case studies in various disciplines. Faculty are invited to remix these studies or write their own and share them.

Let Students Develop Course Content (STEM Example)

 Screenshot for Teaching Laboratories website at NCSU

Some instructors have been successful in encouraging students to develop instructional materials for other students--rather than requiring the use of a costly text. Maria Gallardo at North Carolina State University facilitated the above project, for which students developed videos to demonstrate use of laboratory equipment.

Many other programs are experimenting with a similar model of instruction, including the HEA Students as Partners in the Curriculum Change Programme in the UK.

Let Students Develop Course Content (Humanities Example)

Emory University German Grammar Tutorial Site (screenshot)

In this German grammar course at Emory University, students create tutorials about concepts that they personally find difficult. Tutorials are presented on the course website.


Supplement Courses with Learning Objects

Image showing 3D models of pathogens

OER aren't just textbooks--you can also find low-cost learning objects of all kinds by searching repositories like MERLOT and Teaching Commons. These 3D models of infectious pathogens were developed by instructors at Lawrence University. The files for recreating these models are available in Lawrence's institutional repository. 

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