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Open Educational Resources: What the Library can do to help

A clearinghouse of OER, including learning object repositories, open course repositories, scholarly repositories, open textbooks, and information about open learning/education in general.

What the SUNY Empire Library can do to help SUNY Empire faculty and staff with OER

Do you want to use OER in your course? Great! The library can help.

This OER Request Form will walk you through the process of thinking through exactly what kind of OER you need so that the librarian can consult with you and support you in finding and evaluating, and later adopting and adapting OERs in your course.

First, it is important to remember that OERs, while potentially radical and innovative, are just another kind of content for your learners to interact with. If you know how to adopt a textbook, choose scholarly articles, videos, and primary sources for each module of your course, and develop your own original content for your course, you already know how to do most of this

You are more likely to be successful in your search if you start out knowing:

  • What learning objectives you want to meet
  • Not only the topic you want, but what themes, point of view or school of thought
  • What level
  • Whether you want a reading, video, quiz, exercises, an assignment with a rubric, game, simulation, image, animation...

Because people have been focusing on developing OERs that will help as many students as possible, you're also more likely to succeed if you are looking for:

  • Basic, rather than advanced content
  • Content that is more general purpose rather than highly specific 
  • Content that is high interest rather than niche 
  • OR content that is niche, but in a niche blessed with enthusiastic OER developers!

OERs are different from traditional textbooks and educational materials because:

  • They're more challenging to find because they're literally all over the internet and nobody has a financial interest in gathering them together in tidy databases or sending you desk copies. 
  • Quality varies from unacceptable to as good as or better than commercial educational materials. Some are peer reviewed, some are not.
  • You can adapt or edit OERs, and often you should. (The library can't help with this, but you might want to talk to the Ed Techs!)

All this means you need to give yourself (and us) time. Once in a while, we can do Arcane Library Magic and find you exactly the video you were thinking of in a day or so. Usually it takes quite a bit of brainstorming between the developer and the librarian, and time-consuming searching across myriad repositories and sites.

Ready to request help? This OER Request Form will walk you through the process. 


What the librarian does and does not do to help

The SUNY Empire Library doesn't have a staff of research assistants. We don't actually perform the search for you. Instead, we suggest where to search, teach how to search, demonstrate, and, if you like, sit with you and help you as you try it the first time. We will also give answers and advice as needed throughout the process.

SUNY Empire librarians are also not subject matter experts (except in the field of librarianship.) We can't select or evaluate resources for you to include in your course, anymore than you'd let us choose the textbook you would use. We can provide instruction, support materials, and even rubrics to help you evaluate the OERs that you find along multiple criteria. Again, we also provide answers and advice as you go along.