Teaching Tip: Open Educational Resources: Affordable, Adaptable, Accessible

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The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the academic year in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible online teaching and learning materials. They can be delivered in a variety of formats such as complete courses, textbooks, lectures, videos, podcasts, and course modules. Using OER in your classroom improves student engagement and success (de los Arcos, 2014), provides immediate, equitable access to resources, saves money for your students, and provides you a venue to use adaptable, high-quality learning materials in your individualized curriculum.

In the 2013 US Public Interest Research Group Education survey of 2,039 students from 150 universities, students were asked about the affordability of textbooks; “65% of students said that they had decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive” (Senack, 2014, p.4). Additionally, 94% of those students believed that not purchasing the textbook would negatively impact their grade in the course. Providing students with OER that are readily accessible at no or little expense to them allows students to immediately engage in the course and reduces financial stress.

Locating high-quality, relevant OER to integrate into your curriculum may be time consuming; however, your subject librarian is available to assist in the process. Library staff is working on developing tools and procedures to review OER which will save faculty time while still providing freedom of choices to OER that fit your specific discipline and curricular needs. The beauty of OER includes the ability to adapt materials to fit your teaching needs.

Tips for finding and using OER:

  1. There are lots of OER materials out there. It takes time and persistence to find the ones that best fit your students’ academic and research needs.
  2. Instead of focusing on the textbook that you want to replace, focus on what you want your students to know or do.
  3. Visit these guides to find out more about OER and to find scholarly OER relevant to your discipline:  http://libguides.uta.edu/oerhttp://libguides.uta.edu/oerbycollege (under construction)
  4. Talk with Diane Shepelwich, dianec@uta.edu, about questions you have concerning OER.

de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Perryman, L.-A., Pitt, R. & Weller, M. (2014). OER Evidence Report 2013-2014. OER Research Hub. Retrieved from http://oerresearchhub.org/about-2/rep

Senack, E. (2014, January). Fixing the broken textbook market: How students respond to high textbook costs and demand alternatives. Retrieved from http://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/NATIONAL%20Fixing%20Broken%20Textbooks%20Report1.pdf

~Diane Shepelwich, dianec@uta.edu, Librarian, Outreach and Scholarship, Central Library

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