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Get Up To Speed with OER

This is a self-paced tutorial for faculty and staff to learn about Open Educational Resources - what they are, how to find and evaluate them, how to adapt and create them, and how to handle the copyright and technical implications.

Finding and Using OER

Watch Open Education Week: How to find Open Educational Resources (1:03) to get a general idea of how to locate OER. 

How To Choose Open Educational Resources

Don't fall into the trap of, "I need to find an OER about X." The topic of an Open Educational Resource is important, but it's not the only criteria for searching and evaluating.

You also need to keep in mind:

  • What are your learning objectives?
  • What kind of learning activities will it go along with?
  • What is the specific subtopic and perspective/angle that you are looking for? 
  • What are your learners' characteristics and background knowledge?
  • How much time do you want your learners to spend on it? 

Making Improvements

The world is full of things that are not perfect, but just good enough. And that's good enough! With OER, you can bring what you find up to your standards.

  • If you have a 20 minute video that spends 7 minutes in the middle talking about something off topic, trim out the middle and show the two end pieces.
  • If you have a diagram of a process that combines what you consider two separate steps, draw a big red arrow to your explanation of how those two separate steps work.
  • If you find a set of pre-algebra word problems that are perfect for your developmental math course, except that they come across as a little childish, change the wording.
  • If you find a diagram that's too cluttered and has the text too far from the relevant images, redesign it.

With OERs, you are free to add, subtract, and change as you see fit, until it suits your needs. This is also why it's so important for Open Educational Resources to have their source files readily available, and in a format that can be edited.