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Transitioning to online instruction?

Many instructors are taking this moment to transition required course materials from traditional textbooks to free or low-cost digital resources. One option includes open educational resources (OER), which come with open licenses and allow instructors to customize the content to best fit their course and pedagogical needs. Additionally, some instructors are leveraging content already licensed by the UT Libraries, which can be accessed immediately and at no additional cost to students. 

Read more here about why OER might be a good fit for your course, and contact the Libraries if you have questions or would like help at any stage, from finding existing OER to understanding its impact on your students. 

What are OERs?

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) defines Open Educational Resources (OERs) as teaching, learning and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge. 

Why OER?

Teaching Benefits

Using OER in the classroom presents a unique opportunity to customize your courses and get your students more involved in their own learning. 

  • Since OER can be remixed and revised, it's possible to create customized resources that fit your specific course.
  • Students who have their course materials from day one, won't have a delay in learning or need to play catch up later.
  • Students can review and revise existing resources to improve them and to help them master a subject.
  • Students could create resources to add to their portfolio.
  • Resources that students create could be licensed for reuse in order to benefit others.

Student Affordability

Required materials, like textbooks, can represent a significant cost to students. Textbook prices have increased over 1,000% since 1977, or more than 3 times the rate of inflation (Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 2015). 

According to research on open textbook pilots conducted by Student PIRGs (Open Textbooks: the Billion Dollar Solution, 2015): 

  • 65% of students have declined to obtain a required textbook because they were too expensive
  • Students save an average of $128 per course when traditional textbooks are replaced with open textbooks

Instructors can directly influence the cost of education for their students by adopting low- or no-cost course materials. 

If you are unsure of how to talk to students, faculty, or administrators about OER, please review our helpful talking points document. 

* Source: Texas Higher Education Reporting Board (http://www.60x30tx.com/media/1412/student-fin-aid-in-texas-report.pdf)

** Source: Texas One Stop (https://onestop.utexas.edu/managing-costs/cost-tuition-rates/cost-of-attendance/)

Need help with OER?

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Ashley Morrison
Contact:
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