OER Over the Long Run: A 5-Step Playbook for OER Integration
Concurrent Session 6
OERs add flexibility to teaching by allowing faculty to customize content to be specific to the course. Our session presents a playbook for determining when OERs are appropriate and beneficial, where and how to search for OERs, assessing quality, integrating, and revising and refreshing your OERs over time.
Co-presenter: Catherine Honig, MERLOT (California State University - Long Beach) (Virtual Presenter)
The potential of open educational resources (OER) to positively impact teaching and learning is achieving global acknowledgment in the world of higher education. OERs significantly reduce costs for students while simultaneously contributing to high-quality instruction by providing faculty with the flexibility to customize courses with relevant, targeted material. OERs offer an effective strategy for nuanced alignment of course materials and content coverage.
Faculty are often more experienced utilizing textbook packages and associated supplements (PowerPoints, test banks, and homeworks with answers). Despite the convenience, standard publisher packages rarely align perfectly with content coverage in a specific course. Further, and perhaps more important, are the prohibitive costs associated with standard textbooks. "From July 2011 to March 2018, consumer prices for college textbooks increased 40.6 percent" (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021). While these costs have not increased dramatically in the past 4 years, high prices remain a barrier to student access to course materials.
Our 2022 Innovate presentation, “Fostering Campus Partnerships that Support Adoption of Open Education,” gave attendees the tools to build these partnerships on their own campuses and gave attendees the tools to support OER in a collaborative manner. A simple search on the importance of OER confirms that many states in the United States as well as other countries recognize these benefits and are providing financial support for developing and sharing these materials. In 2018, 2.2 million students at 48% of all U.S. colleges used OpenStax textbooks (Ruth, 2018). “Countries in Europe, North and South Americas, and Asia are actively developing OER materials and finding ways to encourage educators to adopt OER, and more than 1,000 international repositories of OER exist” (Lee & Lee, 2021). Efforts in some areas are exemplified by the List of North American OER Policies & Projects, https://sparcopen.org/our-work/list-of-oer-policies-projects/, which includes a brief overview in many locations with active weblinks. These materials include textbooks and textbook alternatives, assignments, library guides, as well as legislation creating OER programs to be shared.
While we clearly have arrived at a juncture where OER are valued, there are nonetheless challenges involved in integrating OER into a college course. These challenges include:
determining when OERs are appropriate and beneficial for your course,
knowing where and how to search for OERs,
assessing the quality of OERs,
integrating OER in your course, and
revising and refreshing OERs over time.
This presentation overviews our five-step playbook for determining quality, value, relevance and maintenance of OERs for your own courses.
Takeaways and Engagement Activities:
All attendees will leave the session with an OER playbook to guide implementation decisions.
The presenters will develop and share a reference document listing high-quality, OER-related resources.
Throughout the presentation, prompts will engage the audience with interactive feedback regarding the five-step playbook for determining whether OER will work for their courses, finding, assessing, integrating, and revising OER over time.
Lee, D. & Lee, E. (2021). International perspectives on using OER for online learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 69, 383-387. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09871-5
Ruth, D. (2018). 48 percent of colleges, 2.2 million students using free OpenStax textbooks this year. Houston, TX: Rice University News & Media. Retrieved from https://news.rice.edu/2018/08/01/48-percent-of-colleges-2-2-million-students-using-free-openstax-textbooks-this-year/.