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Open Educational Resources (OER) at Montana State University

Information on Open Educational Resources (OER) and initiatives at MSU.

How Do I Engage Students About Adopting OER?

The BCcampus Open Education Advocacy Guide for Student Leaders explains the benefits of OER and provides guidance on how students can help promote OER adoption.

How Do I Adopt Open Textbooks?

Provide your students an alternative to expensive textbooks by following these steps:

  1. Find the right OER for your subject by going to the OER by Discipline tab in this Guide. You can also take a look at the list of Open Textbook Collection to view the websites and repositories that contain OER. Try to familiarize yourself with the sources by going to their website.
  2. Search for the appropriate textbooks for your course.
  3. Review and evaluate the textbooks based on the content and whether it suits your teaching style and your students.  See the box that outlines evaluation criteria. You can also print and download this adoption worksheet to record your evaluation. 
  4. Decide if you want to use the textbook as is, edit, or modify the contents. One of the benefits of open textbooks is flexibility to customize them for specific course designs as much or as little as you desire. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the licensing allows that. Different repositories will have different options for editing and publishing revised copies.
  5. Distribute to your students by uploading into D2L. You can select the best format to distribute to your class such as online, or downloadable PDF. 

OER and the Bookstore:  Already planning to change your summer or fall courses to OER or other open access materials?  It is important that you report this to the MSU Bookstore. The Bookstore highly supports faculty moving to OER or other more affordable options! They still need to know what materials you are adopting. Whatever you choose, they help students access them, digitally and physically. They are also anticipating faculty needing to change summer and/or fall book orders.  If you make a change, just let them know. They will work with you to get that information out to students.

Digital AND Print:  Yes, OER are free digital resources. However, their unique copyright allows  the printing of these resources. In fact, some can even be purchased commercially, like through Amazon. The MSU Bookstore offers a fast print-on-demand service for faculty and students using OER texts. That’s right, you can get a print copy of your textbook for a very low cost. OER textbooks, color-printed and bound, typically range from $15 to $30 to print. This is an affordable and accessible option for faculty and students’ different learning needs.

Research on Open Textbook Adoption Efficacy

How Do I Evaluate OER?

As faculty, you assess textbooks against a set of criteria that reflects your long experience and knowledge of student needs. You do the same with Open Textbooks, but there are a few additional considerations.

    * Content
          o Accuracy of material
          o Richness
          o Depth
          o Breadth
          o Timeliness
          o Cultural context
    * Presentation
          o Writing quality and tone
          o Reading level
          o Organization
          o Visual presentation
          o Hierarchy of information
          o Collateral materials

Additional Criteria

    * Accessibility online
          o Are the web pages for the textbook accessible?
    * Production options
          o Is the book available in more than one format? Printed? Bound? PDF?
    * Platform compatibility
          o Is the textbook viewable and usable on both MAC's and PC's?
    * Delivery options
          o Is a bound copy available at a very low price? Will your bookstore be able to carry the printed version?
    * Interactivity
          o If the online version includes interactive software or multi-media files, are they accessible and cross platform?
    * Consistency between online and printed presentation

          o Are the online and printed versions comparable in organization and basic appearance?

          o Will you be able to identify locations in either with minimal confusion for students?

    * Collateral material
          o If there are test banks, interactives, or other enrichment materials, are they in a format you can use?
          o Accessible?
          o Free or very inexpensive?

Want to Adopt this Guide?

Creative Commons License
Montana State University (MSU) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Doralyn Rossmann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This guide is a modified version of a guide created by Regina Gong at Lansing Community College Library.