OERs at Georgian

OERs Benefit Students AND Faculty

Open educational resources (textbooks, video, courses, modules, tests, software, techniques, materials tools) used for teaching, learning, research shared under public domain or open license for re-use. Education is sharing (redistribute, retain, reuse, revise, remix). OER transforms access, affordability and learning. Students perform same or better. Creative Commons CCBY

"OER is sharing" by Giulia Forsythe is in the Public Domain, CC0

What if there was a way to improve student access, save time and money, AND offer a more effective, customized version of your course resources?  Here are some highlights that outline why OERs are being adopted and adapted at Georgian and beyond!

Student-Focused Benefits

The financial implications of OER use are some of the most widely discussed benefits to students (eg: Colvard et al., 2018; BCcampus Open Education, n.d.; Ross, 2018).  However, students benefit from OERs in many other ways, including:

  • Immediate access to course resources before/during/after the course - from week 1 (SUNY OER, n.d.), regardless of OSAP or financial issues
  • Highly portable reading materials (Ikahihifo et al., 2017, p. 132) - available anywhere that the student has a wifi connected device, or downloadable to their device for offline use
  • Increased accessibility - for different devices, differing internet connections, assistive technology, no more geographic boundaries related to e-book access
  • Allowing some students to divert textbook funds to other needs/wants (Fischer et al., 2020, pp. 404-405)
  • Content customized to meet specific learning outcomes of the course and focused to meet the needs of our unique learners (Ikahihifo et al., 2017, p. 132)

Accessibility & UDL

Openly accessible OERs can break down the barriers that stop students from actively using traditional print textbooks (and even e-Book versions).

A well designed, learner-centered OER is:

  • Available to students from week 1 or before (SUNY OER, n.d.) - no more waiting for OSAP funds or textbook shipping
  • Already accessible - bypassing the need for textbook scanning - saving time & money for students and accessibility services
  • Available in multiple electronic formats (the platform usually does this for you!) to accommodate screen readers (Book Oven Inc, n.d.)
  • Compatible with Mobile and other web browsers / operating systems
  • Downloadable for students who need offline access or have unstable internet connections
  • Available without a special logins, access key or student account (Fischer et al., 2020, p. 406)
  • Available regardless of geographic boundaries - a problem we faced during the pandemic!
  • Printable at low cost for students who prefer a hard copy
  • More engaging than a traditional textbook - with embedded activities (think: H5P) and customized content (Snoek-Brown & Coleman, 2019)

Adaptability & Implementation

Unlike a traditional textbook, OERs are highly adaptable. While OER textbooks offer huge benefits to students, you don't have to create an entire resource or textbook from scratch!

Perhaps you'd like to start smaller. With OERs, you can:

  • Collaborate with colleagues
  • Assign a a chapter or section from an existing OER for students to read
  • Link directly to a resource, module or OER book section/chapter from Blackboard
  • Incorporate an existing interactive module from H5P into Blackboard to help your students practice skills or master key concepts
  • Make a copy of a section or entire existing OER, and edit it to reflect your learning outcomes
  • Combine activities and resources from multiple OERs to create a learning module for your students
  • Improve diversity and inclusion by adding/updating existing content
  • Add content, examples or resources into an existing OER to ensure Canadian and Georgian content are used
  • Update the resource as needed (be careful not to make significant changes mid-semester), without formal publication delays

(SUNY OER, n.d.)

You can start small and build up to a larger OER presence in your course!  Connect with Jen for more ideas!


BCcampus Open Education. (n.d.). Step one: What are OER, why are they important, and what are the barriers to adoption? In OER Student Toolkit. https://opentextbc.ca/studenttoolkit/chapter/step-one-what-are-oer/
Book Oven Inc. (n.d.). 14. Export. In Pressbooks Users Guide. https://guide.pressbooks.com/chapter/export-2/#choosetherightformat
Colvard, N.B., Watson, C.E., & Park, H. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metrics. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262-276. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1184998
Fischer, L., Belikov, O., Ikahihifo, T. K., Hilton III, J., Wiley, D., & Martin, M. T. (2020). Academic librarians examination of university students’ and faculty’s perceptions of open educational resources. Open Praxis, 12(3), 399–415.
Ikahihifo, T. K., Spring, K. J., Rosecrans, J., & Watson, J. (2017). Assessing the savings from open educational resources on student academic goals. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(7), 126–140.
Ross, H. M., Hendricks, C., & Mowat, V. (2018). Open textbooks in an introductory Sociology course in Canada: Student views and completion rates. Open Praxis, 10(4), 393–403. https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.10.4.892
Snoek-Brown, J. & Coleman, D. (2019, June 17). Integrating universal design for learning in open educational practice [Handout]. Washington State Canvas Conference (WACC) 2019. Retrieved August 27, 2021 from https://drive.google.com/file/d/14cfWVHy2zOmfB1L9R6ghohyqCqJSYFy8/view
SUNY OER Services. (n.d.) Leveraging the benefits of OER In Understanding OER. Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-oercommunitycourse-understandingoer/chapter/leveraging-the-benefits-of-oer/
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