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Marine Science

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Identifying & Using Open Educational Resources (OER)

Longhorn Textbook Access (LTA). A partnership with the University Co-op designed to reduce the cost of digital textbooks and other course materials for students. Provides faculty support to choose course learning materials.

For information and support for OER course materials, visit OER Guide and learn why it might be a good fit for your course and understand the impacts and benefits. 

Freshwater Biological Association (UK)

  • Freshwater Biology and Ecology Handbook: Practitioner's Guide to Improving and Protecting River Health, Focus on Invertebrate Monitoring and Assessment, John Murray-Bligh & Martin Griffiths, July 2022.

From the press release: "The Foundation for Water Research (now part of the Institution of Environmental Sciences) (FWR/IES) and the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) are pleased to announce the launch of their Freshwater Biology and Ecology Handbook. The unique scientific and charitable roles of the FWR/IES and FBA have enabled this book to be written in partnership with freshwater biology and water management experts and allow for it to be published free of charge and for public good, for use by the public, experts, and regulators."

Inter-Research Science Publisher, Book Series:

Selected titles from

... the InTech Open

... the National Academies Press

... the OApen

Guest Post - Space and Grace in Open Access Publishing, by Dustin Fife; from The Scholarly Kitchen, May 5, 2021.
     "We should strive for open but also be realistic about the options truly available to researchers and discuss them transparently and honestly."

One Thing That Works: OER

Watch Dr. Joshua Barbour (Associate Professor, Communication Studies) and Ashley Morrison (Tocker Open Education Librarian) explain OER, show how it's used effectively in Dr. Barbour's course, and tell you how to get help with OER at UT Austin. 

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. 

Virginia Course Materials Survey

Virginia Course Materials Survey

In Fall 2021, in cooperation with member institutions, VIVA, Virginia’s academic library consortium, conducted the Virginia Course Materials Survey.  The survey built on the work of previous states and regions and included a special emphasis on educational equity.  More than 5,600 valid student responses from 41 institutions were received, reflecting an overall response rate of 10%.

The overarching research questions were:

  • What is the impact of course material costs on educational equity among Virginia students?
  • What course content materials do students find to be most beneficial to their learning?

Survey results, including a very helpful Executive Summary, are available on the VIVA website.

Noted highlights:

  • 78% of all respondents expressed some level of worry about paying for course materials
  • 98% of students attempt to reduce their course materials costs in some way
  • The survey results also document how course materials costs are even more of an issue for students with multiple areas of financial or social concern (e.g. Pell Grant funding, First Generation college students, BIPOC, disabled)
  • Quote from a student, “The shame and guilt of struggling in a class when the materials cost so much money has been hard to escape.”
  • Quote from a student, “There were some classes that required homework programs that I had to pay for and it caused me to drop the class…”

Need help with OER?

Contact: Heather Walter,
Scholarly Communications Librarian.

OER Resources for Students

If you're a student interested in learning more about OER or getting involved with advocacy efforts, these resources will get you started. Contact Heather Walter,, for more information or support. 

What is open education, anyway? Start with the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)'s primer

Join the OER Interest List

Stay in the know about OER at UT Austin by joining our email interest list. We'll keep you informed about upcoming workshops, new programs on campus and in the state, and other news you can use. 

Sign up here. 

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