oerIt’s a pretty valid question. Faculty across the country are joining the OER movement to create Open educational resources (OER) that are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. Maricopa as a district is one of the leading community college systems in the OER movement. Did you know? The goal of the Maricopa Millions project is to radically decrease student costs by offering LOW COST or NO COST options for course materials. Courses designated as NO COST will have no additional cost to the student beyond fees associated with tuition. These might include OER, licensed online resources purchased by the MCCCD for student access, etc. Courses designated as LOW COST will have required course materials that are under $40. These costs may be associated with copyrights for textbooks, printing of required materials, online homework/quizzing systems, etc.

We’ve already saved students in Maricopa over $6 million in three years, but we can do better. But only with more faculty involvement. So I ask again. When will you be ready for OER?

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly are OER? Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are copyright-free or have been released under a copyright license that permits others to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute them. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

Not all OER has to be created or developed by you. Much OER is already available for adoption and adaption from reputable sources. For instance, I teach an OER African American Literature class that I adopted and adapted from Saylor.org. And here’s a fully developed OER Chemistry 101 course from Saylor. Take a look and see what’s available in your field at Saylor.org or Lumen Learning. There are also many OER textbooks available at sites like: College Open Textbooks.org or OpenStax.org.

So start with the low hanging fruit. Just take a look at what’s available in your field. It might not be something you would adopt wholly, but it might be a great start to something you can adapt and make your own for your own courses. That’s glory of Creative Commons.

When you’re ready to get started, come see me in the CTLE. Or request a Have It Your Way Training to discuss your ideas or to learn more about OER and Creative Commons. In the mean time, check out this article:16 OER Sites Every Educator Should Know .

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