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Adams State University
Nielsen Library

Open Education Resources & Open Access

Information for Faculty & Staff about OER/OA options

What is OER/OA?

  • OER and OA are Open inventories of free* articles, texts, and teaching/learning materials that are often peer reviewed. 
  • OA (Open Access) refers to scholarly literature freely available via open license; typically peer-reviewed in OA journals and institutional repositories.
  • OER (Open Educational Resources) refers to teaching/learning materials freely available via open license. 

*Technically "open" does not equal "free" -- there are still economic dimensions to consider, such as time commitments of contributors, resources, and uncalculated monies. Some "Open" content providers require paid subscriptions. (It could be argued that defeats the purpose of "open", but that's the way it is for now.)

Why OER/OA for Adams?

For Students:

  1. Less financial struggle. 
  2. Less stress:
    1. "is the textbook affordable?"
    2. "will I be able to pass if I don't buy the textbook?"
    3. "will my used copy of the textbook (Amazon instead of the campus bookstore)  arrive by the start of class?"
    4. "will an older (cheaper) edition of the textbook have the right chapters/content?"
    5. "will a used textbook allow me access to online content the professor may use in grading?"
  3. Option of online or cheaply-printed (print-on-demand) material provides students the ability to choose format that fits their learning needs/styles.
  4. Shorter time before graduation (taking the class now rather than "when I can afford the textbook") means less student loan debt.

For Professors:

  1. More fine control over (personalization/customization of) material -- OA/OER can be modified under Creative Commons licenses.
  2. Greater engagement with material you find interesting.
  3. More variety of media to keep students engaged and actively participating.
  4. More equal availability of texts to students of disparate socio-economic backgrounds (equity).
  5. The 5 Rs:
    1. Retain -- keep what you like, under your intellectual control
    2. Reuse - use content in any context you desire
    3. Revise - personalize and adapt content to your needs (simplify for beginner classes, complicate for higher level classes)
    4. Remix - combine content to make something new (put together articles and chapters into a new textbook)
    5. Redistribute - share your compilations to enhance nation- and world-wide OER offerings
  6. Another avenue to publish you own work.

For the University:

  1. Greater retention of students for financial purposes.
  2. Greater equity of access to resources by underserved populations -- serving the University's mission.
  3. Help state fulfill state legislative intentions.

Hannans, J., et. al. Closing the gap with OER: Textbook affordability and student success for historically underserved students [Google slides]. Webinar presentation based on data published in openCI White Paper [PDF document] available from

How can ASU use OER/OA?

  • Using the free resources already available at Neilson Library.
  • Finding new Open Sources to replace traditional textbooks/readings.

Concerns to be Aware of

  • Weeding through what is out there in order to find the right texts for your class.
  • Evaluating open content.
  • Reliability of the Source.