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Open Educational Resources

Adopting OER Materials

There are three ways to adopt OER materials into the classroom 

  1. Utilize existing OERs as they are
  2. Adapting and remixing existing OERs into something new
  3. Creating your own OERs from scratch. 

Getting Started with OERs

  1. Make sure you have time
    The downside to OERs is that adopting them can be very time consuming, as you will need to search for and evaluate the materials
  2. Know what you're looking for
    Are you only looking for a textbook replacement? Are you looking for course modules or assignments? How flexible are your needs? What are you willing to swap in or out? 
  3. Search for OERs
    There are a number of OER repositories online. Check the Resources page in this guide for a list of a few. And if you need help, contact your librarian! 
  4. Evaluate OERs
    When you've found materials that look promising, you'll still want to evaluate it, just like any other new material you're introducing into your course. For more on evaluation, look at the next section. Some OER hubs (such as OER Commons and MERLOT) include reviews from other educators, which can help you save time during this stage. You can also contribute your own reviews after evaluating an OER. 
  5. Does it need alterations? 
    You might not find materials that are exactly the perfect fit, but they may be adaptable. You'll also want to check what rights you have to modify and redistribute the work. Most OER materials have a Creative Commons license, which you can read about in the Creative Commons Licenses page. Different licenses have different requirements for reuse, for example, some do not permit commercial uses, and some require you re-share it under the same license, so be sure to read through the type of license carefully. 

Adapted from:

Evaluating OERs

When evaluating an OER for use in a course, you'll want to consider: 

  • Clarity, comprehensibility, and readability
    • Is it clear and understandable to students? 
    • Are the language and key terms used throughout consistent?
  • Content and technical accuracy
    • Based on your own knowledge and sources, is the content accurate? 
    • Are there any grammatical, factual, or typographic errors? 
    • Are there any broken links or obsolete files? 
  • Adaptability/Modularity
    • Does the file format allows for adaptations, modifications, rearrangements, and updates? 
    • Can you divide the content up in to modules and sections for use in a different order? 
    • Does the licensing allow for adaptations? 
  • Appropriateness
    • Is the content presented at a reading level appropriate for the course level? 
    • Is the content itself appropriate? 
    • How is it useful for instructors or students?
  • Supplementary resources
    • Does it contain supplementary materials? Eg. homework assignments, study guides, etc. 
    • Did you review the resources as well? 

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Use of RIT resources is reserved for current RIT students, faculty and staff for academic and teaching purposes only.
Please contact your librarian with any questions.

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