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Open Educational Resources (OER) at Montana State University

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

Adopting OER

Ready to try open educational resources?  Hooray! Now it's time to Get the Word Out.loud speaker icon

Tell Us! The Library monitors use of and provides resources to support faculty in their open education endeavors.  If you are making a switch, we want to hear about it.  Contact our library team today.

Tell the Bookstore!  Already planning to change your 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.

Tell Your Students! Use OER is fantastic for students.  Let them know what you are doing for them.  Give them a quick overview of OER at the start of the course or add some language to your syllabi that explains why you are using free or low-cost materials.  Try this infographic.

Best Practices for Teaching with OER

  1. Find Digital AND Print Options!  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.
  2. Don’t expect perfection.  You are moving from a publisher resource that is complete to a resource that gives you the freedom to change or modify it.  This takes time.  If you find something that doesn’t work or needs a little more, take note of it.  Work on bettering it for the next semester.  Change is not quick or always easy.  Give yourself time to adjust. 
  3. Assess.  Assess.  Assess.  Rather than wait until to see what students’ grades are at the end of the semester, be evaluating how effective your new materials are systematically throughout the course. 
    1. Mini quizzes, verbal quizzes, or other types of short assessments on the required reading materials are valuable in helping determine if the content is meeting their learning needs. 
    2. Use your students’ perspective to evaluate the new material.  
      1. Have students complete periodic reviews of the text. 
      2. Ask students to input into the materials strengths and weaknesses. 
        1. Have them write quiz or test questions from the text that they think are important knowledge markers 
        2. Use a short survey asking students if the materials met their learning objectives for each section.   
      3. At the end of the course, ask students for overall evaluation of the material and suggestions for change.   
  4. Be Adaptable.  Add to the text as you go.  This does not mean creating or writing new content.   
    1. Utilize the valuable academic resources your library offers to add, modify or supplement the text. 
    2. Find some open content that can support or better your text.  Media, video links, articles, interactive simulations, and other unique material are all available with CC licenses. 
  5. Ask for Help.  If you are stuck or frustrated, reach out!  Librarians, Instructional Designers, E-Learning and Accessibility Coordinators, and the open education community are all here for you.
  6. Enjoy what you are doing


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.