Open Educational Resources

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:

What do our students think about book prices? Student journalism from Gettysburg

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:

Contact Mary Elmquist or Janelle Wertzberger to discuss strategies for finding and/or using OER!

Are There Books or Guides for Creating and Adopting OER?

General Guides: