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Open Educational Resources

Instructor Learning Community

Announcing the “Fostering Inclusive Classrooms with Open, Free & Affordable Course Materials” Instructor Learning Community

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Working Group is excited to offer its first instructor learning community in Fall 2021. With support from facilitators and guest experts, we will join participants from across disciplines in their efforts to make their courses as financially inclusive as possible by eliminating or substantially lowering course material costs. The emphasis of the community will be open educational resources (or OER), which are learning materials that carry open licenses and allow anyone to freely read, share, and modify them. These permissions also enable instructors to adapt them for greater cultural responsiveness and accessibility or even include students in building them. 

In the course of the learning community, participants will engage with the cohort to:

  • Understand the spectrum of affordable learning materials available openly or through campus / UTL services, with an emphasis on OER

  • Search for OER that may be relevant to the courses they teach in one or more repositories and evaluate them using open rubrics

  • Evaluate course materials for basic accessibility best practices & cultural responsiveness; identify opportunities to enhance these aspects of OER and self-created course materials

  • Identify and interpret open licenses associated with OER created by others and those they wish to apply to their own materials

The application period for Fall 2021 is now closed. We look forward to offering more cohorts of this learning community in the future. In the meantime, feel free to check out the materials and activities we developed in Canvas Commons or review the syllabus for a self-paced learning plan. 

FAQs for Applicants

Who should apply to join the cohort? 

If you have an interest in decreasing course material costs and/or adopting, adapting, or creating OER, this experience is for you. Instructors of any level, including graduate students, are welcome to apply to join the cohort. Because we will be working hands-on with your syllabus and course needs, you will benefit most if you have autonomy in selecting your course materials. We encourage applicants from all colleges and disciplines at UT Austin.  


When and where are the learning community meetings?

There will be two meetings held each week over six weeks -- one meeting is the required discussion session, and the second meeting is an optional office hours and coworking session. We hope to offer some or all of the required discussion sessions in person at the Perry-Castañeda Library (with refreshments), but we acknowledge that the evolving pandemic and the needs of our participants will influence those final choices. 

Required discussion sessions will be held on Thursday mornings from 9:30am - 10:50am, October 14 - November 18 (all sessions listed below). The optional office hours and coworking sessions will be held on Friday mornings from 10:00am - 11:00am. 

Required discussion sessions: October 14, October 21, October 28, November 4, November 11, November 18 (all 9:30am - 10:50am)

Optional office hours and coworking sessions: October 15, October 22, October 29, November 5, November 12, November 19 (all 10:00am - 11:00am)


What will the structure of the meetings be? Will there be work in between meetings?

The discussion sessions each week will include a brief presentation from the facilitators or guest experts, but most of the 90 minute session will be dedicated to discussion and activities related to the topic of the presentation. Additionally, you will be asked to do some short reading, viewing, or other preparation in advance of each discussion session to make the most of your time. You will also make progress on a course map that helps you track options for open and free materials that address your course’s learning outcomes. The optional office hours and coworking sessions provide a space for you to do this alongside facilitators and members of your cohort. 


How do I apply to join the cohort? How will you determine who is accepted?

Please complete the short application to express interest by Monday, 9/20. 

If more than 10 instructor applications are received, the following factors will be considered in selecting the cohort:

  • Intent to adopt or create open, free, or more affordable course materials within the next calendar year

  • Number of students enrolled in courses taught by the instructor

  • Diversity of applicant disciplines and departments

  • Diversity of instructor levels and positions


I’m interested but can’t commit to attending the sessions. What other support and/or development opportunities are offered on this topic?

UT Libraries and the OER Working Group offer one-time workshops on similar topics. Additionally, other organizations and institutions host sessions and even full conferences that are open to the public. These opportunities will be shared on the OER events page. Professional development opportunities are also regularly shared through the monthly OER newsletter, which you can sign up for here

If you're interested in self-paced learning, check out the materials and activities we developed in Canvas Commons or review the syllabus for readings and viewings. 

Librarians are always happy to offer consultations on topics related to open, free, and affordable course materials. You can learn more about our open education services, submit a request for a free and affordable course materials review, or contact Ashley Morrison ( for more information.  


I have questions not answered here.

Please contact Ashley Morrison ( if you have any other questions.

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