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Open Educational Resources (OER)

OER Use Options

When you're looking at options for using OER in your course, you have a few options: you can choose to adopt materials as-is, adapt materials to better meet your needs, or create new materials to share openly with other instructors. Use the following tabs to learn more about each of these options.

There are many high-quality, peer-reviewed Open Educational Resources across various academic disciplines and topics. After identifying OER in your course area, you may not need to edit or otherwise alter them for use in your syllabus. Additionally, instructor materials such as discussion questions, quizzes, and exams may be available.

adopt icon illustrating the exchange of one book for another

Adopting these materials "as-is" by integrating the materials into Canvas or simply linking to the website where the material(s) are hosted online is the most straightforward and the least time-intensive way to include OER in your course. 


Resources to get you started:

Suppose there are available OER related to your curriculum, but they are dated, too broad, or contain information that is beyond the scope of your course. In that case, you may want to consider modifying the materials.

Alternately, if there are OER available on the topic your course covers, but no single resource is broad enough to cover the needs of your course, you may want to consider compiling a selection of various OER, free online materials, and websites that make up the resources for use in a class. OER adaption possibilities are nearly limitless due to the digital nature of OER! 

adapt icon illustrating recycling of materials from three books

After confirming that the Creative Commons license attached to the materials allows for adaptation, you may choose to edit the materials to tailor them to your course. Alterations can be as simple as changing graphics, reorganizing chapters, deleting content that isn't relevant, or as intensive as revising the materials to incorporate additional OER sources or content you create yourself.  


Resources to get you started:

If there are no appropriate OER available on your topic or if you have course materials that you believe are superior to the OER available online, you may want to consider creating or licensing your own course materials. Authoring Open Educational Resources can be as simple as applying an open licensee and sharing the syllabus you currently use or sharing lesson plans on OER repositories like OER Commons.

author icon illustrating the writing of a book

Other OER creation processes can be more complex, such as authoring open textbooks. You can work with the AggieOpen team and/or pursue an AggieOpen Fellows grant to support your work.


Resources to get you started:


  • OER options adapted from the “Where to Start” page from the Iowa State University Library OER guide by Abby Elder CC BY 4.0