Open Educational Resources (OER)

New: UH Hilo is beginning to label course sections as Textbook Cost: $0 (TXT0) in STAR and on the class availability list. Read about what TXT0 means and how to designate your course section as TXT0 using a simple two-step process.

On this page:

What is OER?

According to OER Commons : "Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost." Examples of OERs available on the OER Commons site include full university courses, interactive mini-lessons and simulations, adaptations of existing open work, and electronic textbooks.

Creative Commons is a "nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools." Most OER will have Creative Commons licensing, which allows for different levels of distribution and changing.

Educause's 7 Things You Should Know About OER (.pdf) is a brief overview covering usage rights, MIT's OpenCourseWare project (which began in 2002!), downsides, the future, and implications.

All free, open textbooks are junk.
Peer-Reviewed open textbooks are available. Hundreds of universities , including 19 of UH Hilo's peer and benchmark institutions, are using the high-quality open textbooks from OpenStax to lower student costs. More information on peer-reviewed OER available below.

Where to Find OER

Educause has a list of OER sites as well as articles about OER.

Wikipedia has a list of OER sites.

Although Open Educational Resources are more than just "textbooks" there are many complete textbooks already available:

Some OER sites have not only textbooks but also videos, labs, simulations, podcasts, and apps in numerous subject areas:

Peer-Reviewed OER Textbooks

OpenStax , a free textbook initiative of Rice University, offers free peer-reviewed textbooks in a variety of subjects, including:

Check out their FAQ page for more information.

How OpenStax Books are Made

Isn't it worth an hour or two to look at what they have and see if you could offer your students a $0 textbook course?

Creating Your Own OER - UH System Resources

Wondering how to create your own OER? The University of Hawaiʻi has an OER initiative and repository.

New: UH OER Training by William Meinke

Book Description: A three-part training guide for bringing higher education instructors up to speed with Open Educational Resources (OER). This book was developed to serve as a standalone guide for independent creators and to support OER training through face-to-face, online, and hybrid delivery modes. Includes: OER 101, Copyright and OER, OER Creation and Adaptation

Faculty and OER

Open Textbook Publishing - AAUP article

"Who is best suited to control textbooks: the faculty or the publishers? There are ways to make sure it is the faculty."

An Examination of the Lived Experience of Eleven Educators Who Have Implemented Open Textbooks in Their Teaching - Master's thesis

On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education (.pdf) by David Wiley

"What can we do to provide incentives for faculty to participate in an open educational resource initiative?"

Opening the Curriculum: Open Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education

Opening the Textbook: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education

A Study on Open Educational Resources and Their Potential for Use at Texas Colleges Universities (.pdf)

Open Textbooks: The Current State of Play (.pdf)

2012 UNESCO OER Declaration (.pdf)

UNESCO Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education (.pdf)

"These Guidelines outline key issues and make suggestions for integrating OER into higher education. Their purpose is to encourage decision makers in governments and institutions to invest in the systematic production, adaptation and use of OER and to bring them into the mainstream of higher education in order to improve the quality of curricula and teaching and to reduce costs."

These Faculty and OER resources were compiled by Tracy Thornett for the Student Success and Admissions Committee, 2017.

OER and Tenure/Promotion

OER in Tenure and Promotion
Recognizing “Open” in Tenure and Promotion at UBC
Peer Reviewing OER
MERLOT Peer Review Information
Open SUNY Textbook Peer Review Guidelines (.pdf)
Short Guide To Evaluation Of Digital Work

These Tenure and Promotion and Peer Review resources were compiled by Tracy Thornett for the Student Success and Admissions Committee, 2017.