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Open Educational Resources

FAQs for Faculty & Instructors

OER FAQs for Faculty & Instructors

Q: I'm using OER in my course. Do I need to share that with the University Co-op before each semester through the formal adoption process? 

A. Yes! Even if students don't have to purchase your selected course materials, it's useful to do this because your materials will then show up in the "My Textbooks" section of Canvas. Students can access course materials directly from this tab, and it will include both commercial texts and OER if you are using a mix. If you miss that deadline, those materials can be sourced from the OER publisher (e.g., OpenStax) and/or posted directly to your Canvas course.

Q: How do I represent my open education activities in my activity report or promotion packet?

A: Learn how to best represent your engagement with OER in activity reports or packets for promotion with a new tool from the Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) working group. This matrix identifies different types of instructor contributions using OER (adopting, adapting, creating, etc.) and demonstrates concrete ways to document and provide evidence of these contributions in teaching, service, and research. Additionally, Iowa OER created a helpful visual to distill the recommendations of DOERS3 in the "Open Education in Promotion, Tenure, & Faculty Development" guide. If you have questions or are interested in talking more about OER activities and institutional reward structures, please get in touch.

Q: Am I allowed to openly license my work? Who owns it?

Generally, authors own their work and can license it as they choose, but there are exceptions. Read more about it in our Copyright Crash Course or the UT System IP Policy to determine what rules may apply to your situation. 

Q: Is Open Access (OA) the same thing as OER?

The short answer is that all OER are Open Access (OA), but not all OA is OER. The longer answer is that the license applied to a work determines whether or not it is truly OER. For example, a journal article may be published OA, but the license it carries may be all-rights-reserved copyright. That is not OER because the license does not allow users to copy and adapt the content. However, in a different circumstance that same journal article may be published OA and also carry an open license (such as a Creative Commons license) that allows users to not only access it freely (OA) but copy and adapt it -- this is OER. 

Even more FAQs are addressed in the Faculty Guide to Use of Open Educational Resources (OER), produced by the OER Subcommittee of the Sustainable Open Scholarship Working Group charged by the Provost. 

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