Skip to main content

Southworth Library Learning Commons Faculty Services: OERs and Open Textbooks

A comprehensive guide to the library services and supports available to Faculty at SUNY Canton!

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Creative Commons Wiki:

Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.

Open Education "...is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge."
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

What can we do for you?

The librarians at Southworth Library Learning Commons can help you adopt OERs!

How can librarians assist you in OER adoption?

  1. Identification of resources: With the faculty member acting as content expert, librarians may assist in the identification of resources for course material.
  2. Development of Blackboard resource lists: Faculty may wish to partner with SUNY Canton Online Learning as well in this endeavor. SUNY Canton's Blackboard Learning Management System could conceivably be used to host any type of content you create, including what amounts to a textbook, although it doesn't have near the specific functionality for a "book" format that the above sites give you.
  3. Discovery of public domain licensed readings

Why should I use an OER?

There are many reasons instructors might want to use OER:

Free and Legal to Use, Improve and Share

  • Save time and energy by adapting or revising resources that have already been creating
  • Tailoring educational resources to the specific content for your course
  • Expands opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning by allowing instructors to integrate and revise multiple educational resources
  • Redefines "traditional" learning by often incorporating multi-media or scenario-based education
  • Allows instructor to go beyond the confines of "teaching to the book"

Network and Collaborate with Peers 

  • Access to educational resources that have already been "peer reviewed" by other experts in your field
  • Many resources have a review or annotation feature so instructors have more in-depth knowledge of the resource and its quality quickly
  • Makes learning and teaching more collaborative

Lower Educational Cost and Improve Access to Information

  • Reduces the cost of course materials, particularly textbooks so that all students have access and aren't as financially burdened
  • Find and access information instantly on virtually any topic, and can access with various devices.
  • Gives learners the option of looking at course content openly before enrolling.
  • Can reduce the stress students bear, sometimes increasing graduation and retention rates

University of Illinois, University Libraries

Faculty are often not aware of the financial burden placed on students by their assigned texts; however, the following chart compares the rise in textbook costs to the rise in cost of inlation:

Explore the three tabs below:

The Open Textbook movement focuses on the creation of books that are built specifically for use as free or low-cost options for education.  Many of the collections will have links to the same books, but each repository has a particular focus, and items you can't find in other collections.

  • Open Textbook Library (https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/) – OTL, with over 350 books, is a clearinghouse of links to books in various locations, including OpenStax, Saylor and others. Books in the OTL have been peer reviewed for quality, and the Open Textbook Library has multiple criteria for inclusion in the Library.
  • OpenStax (https://openstax.org/) – These books were developed following traditional textbook publishing methods, including peer review, editorial support, and creation of ancillary content. Books are available in multiple formats (PDF, print on demand, on the Web) and are licensed to be revised and remixed by faculty who want create a custom solution for a course.
    • Note: Several faculty members at OU have adopted or adapted OpenStax books, including Dean Kelly Damphousse, Glen Kurtz, Heather Ketchum, and others.
  • BC Campus OpenEd (open.bccampus.ca/find-open-textbooks) – This site includes texts written specifically for the BC OpenTextbook initiative, as well as books from other sources.
  • Lumen Learning (http://lumenlearning.com/browse-courses/) – Lumen provides open courses in a variety of high-demand subjects and disciplines. These courses are collections of high-quality OER, not necessarily as a traditional texbook.  You can use them as-is or modify them to fit your instructional style and students’ needs.
  • HathiTrust (http://www.hathitrust.org) – HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. HathiTrust materials can be searched through the OU Libraries.  
  • The Directory of OpenAccess Books (http://www.doabooks.org/doab) – This site is a clearinghouse of links to books hosted in various locations, and includes a large selection of international textbooks.
  • Saylor.org Bookshelf (http://www.saylor.org/books/) – This collection includes books written specifically for Saylor.org as well as the original editions of the FlatWorldKnowledge textbooks (subsequent editions are only offered for purchase). You can view all their resources by subject area in their library
  • Open Access Publishing in European Networks (http://www.oapen.org/home) – The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences.  OAPEN has books in multiple languages and covering a large variety of topics. There is a range of licensing for the books, but each books is clearly marked with the license.
  • Project Gutenberg (https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page) – A volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works. Most items in this collection are digitized works from the public domain, making it a rich source for those in the Humanities
  • The National Academies Press (http://www.nap.edu) – Unlike some of the open textbook initiatives these books are publicly available but not openly licensed.  You can link to the content, and even link directly to specific pages.  However, you cannot remix and redistribute the content.

This is not a complete list, and this list will be periodically updated. 

The University of Oklahoma Libraries

 


 

You may also choose to explore an option that is closer to home:

Open SUNY Textbooks is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. This pilot initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure.

Open Educational Resource repositories listed here cover a wide variety of educational disciplines.  They include OER targeted at both primary and secondary students.  

  • OER Commons (oercommons.org) Curating best in class learning materials from around the world since 2007.  The OER Commons is a single search source that pulls from multiple OER collections, including MERLOT and Connexions.  It is a great first step in an OER search, but often more results can be found by searching the specific collection.  
    • Users can create collections of existing content and create their own content pages to share.
    • The OER Commons is a supported by ISKME (the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education).
    • Recommended by OU Librarians for the Business, Education, History, Life Sciences, Psychology and Sociology subject areas.  
       
  • OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions) (cnx.org) includes lectures, assignments, and written educational materials.  Content can be created in the Connexions interface and housed within the Connections servers.  Users can create collections of existing content and create their own content pages to share. 
  • MERLOT (merlot.org) is a free and open peer reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community. MERLOT was opened in 1997 and is supported by the California State University System.  
    • MERLOT does not house content, but is a collection of links to other content.  The materials can be ranked and many are peer-reviewed.  There are discipline specific Communities that curate and review the content. 
    • You can create and share personal collections of content links.
    • Recommended by OU Librarians for the Business, Education, Music, Political Science and Sociology subject areas.  
       
  • OpenWashington - (http://www.openwa.org)  is a site designed to help you understand the OER movement and find OER.  They have links for finding textbooks, content, images and video, as well as stories from faculty who have adopted OER in their classrooms.  
     
  • Saylor.org is a non-profit organization sponsored by the Saylor Foundation, they are focused on bringing "freely available education to all."  Founded in 1999 by Michael Saylor, they have created online courses curated from open content found on the Web.  The courses are marketed toward students who just want to learn, and are working on some methods for offering credentials. For faculty, Saylor is a great site to start your search for OER by subject.  
    • Saylor.org does not house content, but link to outside resources.
    • Lists of the Academic Consultants by subject area are available.
    • Lists of the Content Review Panels by subject area are also available. 
    • They also have a collection of open textbooks.
    • Recommended by OU Librarians for the Art History, Business, Engineering, History, Political Science and Psychology subject areas.  
       
  • Orange Grove (http://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/access/home.do) is a online library of openly available instructional resources for Florida's educators. 
    • The Orange Grove does not house content, but is a collection of links to other content.
    • Only Florida educators are allowed to have registered accounts, but anyone can search for and use content linked in the Grove.  Some resources are only available to registered users. 
    • This site is predominantly focused on K-12 content but there are links to content useful for introductory courses. 
       
  • Europeana – is a gateway to European cultural assets, through this one site you can search for artworks, cultural items, archival collections from participating institutions all around Europe.  This site is a gateway, and once you have selected the items you want you will be redirected to the website of the institution that owns the item, and often these sites will not have English translations.  To find an item with the Creative Commons licensing you prefer - 
  1. Once you type in your initial search on the main page, you will have a list of filters on the left hand side of the page
  2. Use the "Can I use it?" and "By Copyright" filters to narrow down your results
  • Canadiana - Canadiana.org is a coalition of members dedicated to providing broad access to Canada's documentary heritage. Through our membership alliance, Canadian libraries share tools and capacity, partner on open-source projects, and spearhead digital preservation in Canada.

This is not a complete list, and this list will be periodically updated. 

The University of Oklahoma Libraries

OER Evaluation

 

OER Creation

  • Authoring Tools from Open Education
    A detailed and up to date list of possible authoring tools and platforms.
  • AcademicPub
    "Gives educators the ability to create their own custom books — in print and e-book format...[and] provides real-time copyright clearance."
  • Blended Learning Toolkit
    This site helps you organize learning objectives, resources and assignments for your course. Especially helpful for blended courses.
  • BookBuilder
    Another great book-building tool with nice features such as a text reader and student annotation tool.
Loading