Getting started with open resources

  • “When we surveyed students about the free materials, most said they were just as good if not better than the paid ones”

     Amber Gileweski

  • “If you have the power to make (economic issues) go away for someone, then you should.”

      Tori Matthews, Monroe CC

  • “I could not, in good conscience, ask students to spend $400 for a book when there was an equal quality free alternative.”

      Tori Matthews, Monroe CC

  • “OER invite faculty to play a direct role in making higher education more accessible.”

      Rajiv Jhangiani

  • “I use bits and pieces of various textbooks and I add videos and articles, and I can keep the information current for my students.”

     Lorena Mathien, Buffalo State College

  • “OER the first semester will be like changing a book. Later semesters it will get better – it will become yours over time.”

      Sophia Georgiakaki, Tompkins-Cortland CC

  • “You can make it relevant to students, bring in contemporary information, make it engaging, rather than have this cold, dead object that costs a lot of money. That’s why I love OER.”

     Bruce Schwabach, Herkimer College

Open textbook
publishers & directories

Looking to replace a high cost textbook? Great! Some organizations, like OpenStax and Open SUNY Textbooks publish original open textbooks. There are many other directories that showcase open textbooks from many publishers, such as the Open Textbook LibraryBCCampus, and the OER Commons Open Textbook Hub.

Open Courses

Looking for more course material? Lumen Learning our vendor partner, offers high-quality, immediately adoptable courses.
Projects like the Open Course Library, MIT OpenCourseware, and the Open Learning Initiative provide lectures, notes, activities, or tests. Be sure to double check licensing as these courses may contain a lot of different resources!

OER Repositories

Larger repositories like MERLOT and OER Commons are helpful sites to explore the diversity of resources available to you. They will connect you with anything from modules, single activities & readings, to full texts. Or search many repositories at once with George Mason University’s Metafinder.

Professional Societies

A great place to talk about OER is within your own discipline or professional society. Other faculty may know of resources, or even curate a list of high quality and relevant resources, like the American Institute of Mathematics Open Textbook Initiative.

Multimedia

No resource is complete without some eye candy–just make sure it’s openly licensed! Creative Commons’ search feature allows you to find music, photos, and videos that are openly licensed.

Talia Lipton

Talia Lipton

Rockland Community College

I came to OER through a series of events beginning with my participation on TOEP (Tools of Engagement Program). After I won 1st place in TOEP I used the CPD points to take the Intermediate OER online course through SUNY online learning.

In addition to my own education I was hearing MANY stories of financial hardships that my students were having which really made me passionate to pursue OER.

RCC received an IITG grant to develop a discipline specific curated material in order to make searching for OER more streamlined and easily accessible.

View Rockland’s Curated OER Guide (Work in Progress)
Bill Pelz

Bill Pelz

Herkimer College

My initial exposure to OER was in a conversation with Mark McBride. He included me in an IITG OER project which brought Nate Angel of Lumen Learning and Allison Brown of SUNY OER Services to the Herkimer campus for a regional 2-day OER conference/workshop. Our next joint project was the Achieving the Dream grant. Herkimer and 4 other SUNY colleges are creating several “z-degrees” comprised totally of courses using OER. Along the way, I have adopted OER for all of my courses (one exception – Psychology of Work) and assisted the faculty at Herkimer College to adopt OER for their courses. This fall (2017) 22.5% of our student registrations are in OER sections!

Preview one of Bill’s courses
Jerry Mirotznik

Jerry Mirotznik

CUNY Brooklyn College

Having had much difficulty finding a text that met my needs in teaching research methods. It was with great surprise and amazement that I located on open-source textbook that presented a better alternative than any of the commercially available books. This book was designed to teach research to students from a number of disciplines, and it conceives of research as broader than just the methods used to test hypotheses, covering the importance and utility of theory as well. The experience I had in finding such an appropriate textbook taught me the important lesson that open-source does not mean second best.

See The OER Text Jerry chose

David Usinski

David Usinski

Erie Community College

Ten years ago when I first began teaching at ECC, the students voiced their concerns about the financial strain of paying for textbooks and online homework codes.  For several years, I was actively looking for solutions. Then in 2012 I had the pleasure of attending an OER workshop about MyOpenMath, an OER online math homework platform. This satisfied my course needs for Calculus and Developmental Algebra courses. I continued searching and found the OLI Concepts in Stats course during the summer of 2013 so that by the Fall 2013, I was using OER in all my courses. Within the past year, I have piloted the OHM and WayMaker Concepts in Stats courses with Lumen Learning.

Preview Concepts in Statistics

Adapt

Reorder chapters, delete sections you don’t need, cherry pick the best parts of multiple texts, or replace images with ones your students create–just a few of the options possible!

Enliven your classroom by making OER your own.

We know it’s not always easy, but we can help with your adaptation each step of the way! We provide an optimal editing platform to customize most open materials. Your content can be integrated into any learning management system and published in a variety of formats.

Find to deliver graph

Faculty Stories

Jill Loop

Jill Loop

Tompkins-Cortland Community College

I began exploring OER as an option in all of my courses shortly after coming to TC3 as an adjunct faculty member. Our team was “recruiting” in a sense, and I loved the idea of providing content to my students that was affordable, accessible and editable by me.

As I transitioned from Academic Writing to teaching upper-level English courses  I began to take more ownership of my courses. Previously, I relied on what already existed, which wasn’t always a lot. I now record my own lectures and write my own content that I supplement with resources from Saylor and Lumen.

Check out Lumen’s Public Speaking course
Alexandra Juhasz

Alexandra Juhasz

CUNY Brooklyn College

VHS Activism is based on collections of VHS tapes linked to themes like AIDS and Activism. Over the course of her career, Prof. Alexandra Juhasz collected hundreds of VHS tapes by film artists out of the mainstream of cinema. In some cases, these films are not commercially available. This collection is designed to bring together the digitizations of the tapes themselves with student-driven annotations, as well as records and references in other media, such as reviews, websites, and study guides. This project is part of the OER Pilot Project at Brooklyn College.

Michael Goyette

Michael Goyette

CUNY Brooklyn College

Developing an OER site has allowed me to customize the content of my course and teach it in a way that is directed toward the particular needs of my students. My OER site also asks for students to contribute annotated multimedia content as part of a course assignment. My students have risen to the occasion with excellent contributions, and I believe that the act of contributing to a publicly-visible academic website has been a very empowering experience for them.

View Ancient Medicine OER
Amber Gilewski

Amber Gilewski

Tompkins-Cortland Community College

I came to use OER when I was asked in 2011 by my provost if I would participate in a grant-funded OER project called Kaleidoscope. I started off using an existing open textbook and collaborated with another professor from California, whom I never met in person, to come up with assignments for our students to focus on in the course. Eventually, I helped to adapt this textbook for use as part of Carnegie Mellon’s Community College Open Learning Initiative (OLI) for their Introduction to Psychology course. Since I’ve been using the OLI materials my students’ success in the course has grown even more substantially.

Preview Amber’s Intro to Psychology course

Build

Even though OER options grow more available each day, not every field has great coverage yet. Consider contributing to underrepresented disciplines by sharing your unique activities, problem sets, teaching resources, chapters, or whole texts with an open license.

Thinking of building from scratch?

Take a look at this road map to guide you as you plan for your project!

A flowchart of how to plan using OER

Faculty Stories

Thomas Priester

Thomas C. Priester

Genesee Community College

Thomas Priester published Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom (FAS: WoW) with Open SUNY Textbooks in 2015. His text introduces students to the various aspects of academic life on campus and prepares them to thrive as successful college students. Each section of FAS: WoW is framed by self-authored, true-to-life short stories from actual State University of New York (SUNY) students, employees, and alumni. The advice they share includes a variety of techniques to help students cope with the demands of college. Because the text is OER, Priester’s book has also been incorporated into many other OER courses, such as Lumen Learning’s College Success.

Read Tom’s book online!

Kimberly MClain

Kimberly B. McLain,
Erin O’Hara-Leslie, Andrea C. Wade

Broome County Community College

A team at Broome County Community college created a MOOC on Coursera called Foundations for Assisting in Home Care, as a self-study for those interested in exploring a career as a Home Health Aide or Personal Care Aide, a growing need in their community and program at Broome. Wanting their work to be even more accessible, they created an OER version of their course. Now anyone can learn the basics about home health care, and anyone can use, remix, or share their OER!

Browse Foundations for Assisting in Home Care

Malka Simon

Malka Simon

CUNY Brooklyn College

My OER gives my students access to an incredible variety of resources: print, visual, and multimedia. It allows us the flexibility to reference text and images on the go, and is an integral part of our weekly site visits. The OER is interactive, inviting student contributions and is instrumental in extending the learning experience beyond the classroom. It has allowed us to create a virtual community where students continually document their experiences and ideas about architecture around New York.

Jane Palmquist

Jane Palmquist

CUNY Brooklyn College

OERs enrich teaching and learning immeasurably, drawing from open, authentic, scholarly materials and primary sources worldwide with interactive capabilities beyond those of commercial materials. OERs are flexible and can be easily adapted and updated to include new material, and to reflect students’ needs and interests, or a professor’s specific philosophy and approach. My OER is now incorporating international contributions in partnership with colleagues across the world—furthering our students’ and Brooklyn College’s niche in the global community of scholars. One student even created an app to add to the site for future students—reflecting a real ownership in the course materials.