Open Educational Resources

Blog Post created by rholt on Feb 26, 2018

"Fair is not equal; it's getting what you need!" ~Rhonda Holt

Information is not free!  Somewhere along the way, it cost someone or some institution quite a chunk of money, and yet there is almost an arms race over information access in a way.  I say this because I used to work at a Medical Library as a Graduate Assistant, and you would not believe the demand many individuals placed on the library and its resources.  I can say the one I worked at was fortunate to have some wealthy philanthropists who believed the key to improving health care was through continually investing and improving in the medical information and education available to those individuals who would provide the health care.


It's quite interesting to see the varying perspectives based upon the roles and hats we wear in our varying positions, but most importantly, it's interesting to see how different individuals perceive OERs as either a positive or negative occurrence taking education (especially online education) by storm.  I would pose to liken it somewhat to the idea of "Open Stacks", an era which made many librarians fear losing their jobs and prestigious titles when the stacks were beginning to become more "open" and available to numerous users (public as well since our tax dollars after all pay for the information and materials being gathered).  At this time, the library went from only certain individuals and researchers having access to information and research in limited quantities and amounts of time to it being freely available should any individual take time out of their busy schedule to visit the library and access the information, or schedule to access the information.  Information access and barriers have always existed, but those who play vital roles are in panic because change makes everyone nervous.  The internet is making information more freely available and shareable, but the biggest difference is that is no longer all considered as proprietary and heavily guarded.


5 R's of OERs

Reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and retain... these are the five main activities generally associated with content developed and utilized from OERs.  Because these five Rs are largely what gets considered to be done with specific content and how it is used for courses, it's important to consider the intended purpose and permissions associated with content even when it is labeled as an OER.


OER Evaluation

After attending an amazing BITS webinar led by Dionne Curbeam, February 22nd, I thought it helpful to recap and follow up with my compilation of links too. I especially loved Dionne's top 10 lists, so shout out to her as these lists are hers not mine.

Top 10 Considerations When Selecting OERs

  1. Alignment with student learning outcomes or course objectives

  2. Appropriateness for population and stakeholders

  3. Credibility and Authority

  4. OER's content review process

  5. Availability of supplemental resources and tools

  6. Integration with technology systems (i.e. assessment systems; learning management systems, etc.)

  7. Ability to address diverse learning styles

  8. Time commitment to develop and execute OER

  9. End user support availability and type

  10. Accessibility

Bonus Consideration: Hidden Costs


In the next list, the considerations are for implementation from the perspective of an instructor or faculty member and not necessarily a college as a whole.  OER usage and consideration is generally done on a case-by-case basis and not necessarily as a whole college approach.  Therefore, these suggestions/recommendations from Dionne's list are from the implementation perspective and lens of an individual instructor and based upon her own implementation of OERs in courses.


Top 10 Considerations When Implementing OERs

  1. Don't allow the wide array of OERs to paralyze you.

  2. Develop a timeline for implementation.

  3. Outline your goals, objectives, and key performance indicators.  Have an idea of your needs.

  4. Be careful of doing too many things at once (re-design overload).

  5. Talk to your students about the use of OERs in your courses.

  6. Join an OER stakeholder group for encouragement, advice, and support.

  7. Get continual feedback from students.

  8. Develop and use assessment metrics.

  9. Have a back-up platform for your OER material (or know the content retention policy for any platform).

  10. Be in the position to scale and continue OER use.

Bonus Consideration: OER will not replace the faculty.


OER Links List

I thought it might be helpful for me to compile some of my tricks, tips, and resources I gleaned from the session and many other professional conferences and sessions I've attended during and upon the completion of my MLIS. So the following is a list of links to OERs I have come across or been exposed to by various sources.  Some came from Dionne's list; however, this is a conglomerate of useful links and sources which can be used to different degrees as OERs.