Open educational resources are free and customizable course materials which range from assignments and quizzes to textbooks and online learning platforms. To learn about the latest developments in Open Educational Resources and Open Education, check out our Open Education Guide.
Why Should Faculty Adopt OER?
Adopting OER is a strategic act that can create systemic, long term change in your courses. OER allow faculty to:
- Ensure that all your students have access to readings. OER are completely free to access online, which means you can use them as an EQUITY STRATEGY to ensure that all students have equal and immediate access to your learning materials. Research shows that all students perform better in courses that switch to open textbooks from commercial textbooks, but students from low-income households benefit more than all students. There are other ways you can reduce the cost of your course materials, but OER are truly zero cost.
- Regain control of your course readings. Faculty should have the academic freedom to fully control their readings and other learning materials, and to change them how and when they want to change them. OER can be a SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY for instructors. Many faculty switch to OER because:
- they see little value in the updates commercial publishers push out with each new edition, especially in the context of price increases
- they know things are missing from commercial textbooks
- they want to customize their course by relying less on a single commercial text and bringing in additional materials
In short, many faculty switch to OER for the pedagogical benefits. In addition to being free of charge, OER are free of most copyright restrictions, meaning it is legal to print, reuse, revise, and remix them. They are ideal for faculty who don’t teach the textbook exactly the way it was written and like to put their own spin on the course.
Check out this list of ideas and examples for using OER from the Open Education Group!
Are OER Being Used at Gettysburg College?
Yes, OER are currently being used by faculty from across the College. Examples include:
- Biology 101: Basic Biological Concepts (OpenStax Concepts of Biology)
- Business 361: Marketing Management (Principles of Marketing)
- Computer Science 221: Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming (Introduction to MIPS Assembly Language Programming)
- English 111: Writing Through Literature (open reading list)
- Environmental Studies 128: Oceaonography (Introduction to Oceanography)
- Environmental Studies 223: Earth System Science (An Introduction to Geology)
- Health Science 232: Statistics for the Health Sciences (OpenIntro Statistics)
- Math 107: Applied Statistics (OpenIntro Statistics)
- Math 353: Probability & Statistics (OpenIntro Statistics)
- Organization and Management Studies 365: Topics in Human Resource Management (Human Resource Management)
- Physics 103: Elementary Physics (OpenStax College Physics)
- Sociology 101: Introduction to Sociology (OpenStax Sociology 2e)
What do our students think about book prices? Student journalism from Gettysburg
- Doscher, Phoebe. 2019. "#textbookbroke: Students Discuss Textbook Prices." The Gettysburgian, March 6, 2019.
- Huskic, Hana. 2019. "Cheating the Textbook System." Blog post. SURGE. September 15, 2019.
- Mangala, Guari. 2017. "Open Access Week Seeks to Address 'Textbook Crisis'." The Gettysburgian, October 19, 2017.
- Michael, Kaley. 2019. "WGS Lecture Series: Textbook Affordability." The Gettysburgian, April 3, 2019.
- Pontz, Benjamin. 2017. "The Textbook Crisis." Postcast audio. On Target. October 22, 2017.
- Pontz, Benjamin. 2019. "Sarah Appedu Says Textbook Prices Are a Social Justice Issue." Postcast audio. On Target. April 8, 2019.
Where Can I Find OER?
Librarians are happy to send faculty a short list of OER that might support your course. Please don’t hesitate to ask – we’d rather have you use your time evaluating possible sources than finding them. However, if you’d like to do some searching, we recommend starting with:
Are There Books or Guides for Creating and Adopting OER?