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:
- BC Campus OpenEd Resources
- OER Commons
- OpenStax College - Peer-reviewed!
- Milne Open Textbooks - Formerly Open SUNY Textbooks
- Saylor Academy Bookshelf
Some OER sites have not only textbooks but also videos, labs, simulations, podcasts, and apps in numerous subject areas:
Peer-Reviewed OER Textbooks
Check out their FAQ page for more information.
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
- 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."
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?"
2012 UNESCO OER Declaration (.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.