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Hamersly Library

Open Educational Resources (OER): Tools for Affordable Learning: Sample OERs

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

Sampling OERs

Overwhelmed by the number of options available in open education? This page is meant to give you a glimpse of OERs 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 OERs even if you keep a traditional textbook.

Adopt an Open Textbook


If you don't have the time to develop your own OERs, consider adopting an open textbook. Take a look at the options presented in the Finding Open Textbooks tab for ideas  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 Open SUNY.

Create Open Content

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. OERs can be created in many formats and hosted on many platforms.

Republish a Textbook

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

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.

Let Students Develop Course Content (STEM Example)

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. Graduate students developed scripts and demonstrations to show undergraduates how equipment is to be used. Students can watch these videos while touring the lab (links pointing to the videos are made available on the equipment itself).

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)

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

OERs aren't just textbooks--you can also find low-cost learning objects of all kinds by searching repositories like MERLOT and Teaching Commons. MERLOT is a particularly active community where you can find, adopt, review, and share materials including simulations, exercises, animations, 3D designs, case studies, apps, drills and tutorials. Materials in MERLOT are peer-reviewed, meaning that an instructor with experience in a relevant discipline assesses each learning object based on its quality, effectiveness as a teaching tool, and ease of use. Get started with MERLOT by searching here, submit your own learning object, or register to be a peer reviewer.