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Faculty Information

USU's OER Initiative

The USU Libraries and Academic & Instructional Services have partnered together to further the Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative at Utah State University. The committee’s official charge is “to increase access and affordability to educational resources for students.” 

 Adapt OER to Your Course

The three steps to using OER

OER Q&A for Faculty

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (source: Hewlett Foundation)

Why adopt an OER?

Top three reasons:

  1. Every student in your course will have immediate and unlimited access to their course materials. No waiting for books or access.
  2. You’ll have the academic freedom to utilize and adapt the course materials the way that’s best for your course and your students. With Creative Commons licenses, you are in control.
  3. Your students will thank you because you’ll be saving them money.

Are they really free?

Yes! The development costs are paid for by philanthropic organizations, individuals, and individual schools who believe in the mission of OER.

The OER providers do ask two things in exchange for using these free resources: 1) Help spread the word by telling fellow faculty about them, and 2) Let them know about your use of their books so they can report to their funders about use and seek more funding for more resources.

Some OER providers have premium options, such as additional homework and print copies of books, that have costs associated with them, but the base online content is free.

What about quality?

To help identify high-quality materials, some OER repositories include peer-reviews and ratings. For example, OpenStax offers high-quality, professionally peer-reviewed texts that are comparable to publisher texts. Open Textbook Library also features 5-star, detailed post-production peer ratings of OER textbooks, which allows you to quickly assess the quality of the text.

What about teaching resources such as PowerPoints and test bank, homework and courseware?

Some OER include teaching resources such as PowerPoints, test banks, and homework and courseware options. The library’s OER support team can help you find free or low-cost homework and courseware providers. E-mail (erin.davis@usu.edu) us!

What about sustainability, errata, revisions?

Some OER providers have sustainability models that allow them to maintain, revise, and update their texts. Talk with us (erin.davis@usu.edu) and we will help you determine how often texts in your area are updated.

How hard are they to adopt?

Many OER resources are developed to meet standard scope and sequence of courses. Some also include teaching resources such as PowerPoints, test banks, and homework and courseware options, making for an easier transition.

How do I find an OER for my course?

There are many OER resources that are already developed for many courses. In other cases, you can adapt a current OER to meet your need.

Contact USU's OER librarian (erin.davis@usu.edu)! We’ll help you find what you need, or check out USU's OER Libguide for more information about OER, how to find it, how to create it, and how to adapt it to your course's needs. 

I found an OER, but it’s not exactly what I need.

Great! With Creative Commons licenses, you have the freedom to adapt it to how you see fit! We can provide support and advice on how you can easily adapt OER.

Does USU support the use of OER?

Yes! There is a university-wide committee, formed by USU’s President Noelle Cockett and chaired by Robert Wagner and Brad Cole, dedicated to efforts supporting the use of OER here at USU.

Contact Us

 If you have any questions about OER or if you would like help implementing OER into your course,
please contact a member of the OER Support Team.
We are here to help you!

Erin DavisErin Davis  
Regional Campuses &
E-Learning Librarian
115 Merrill-Cazier Library
(435) 797-2075
erin.davis@usu.edu 

KJ PattersonKJ Patterson
OER Research Assistant
115 Merrill-Cazier Library
kj.patterson@usu.edu