Open Education Week 2021: March 1-5

Welcome to Open Education Week 2021!

Open Education Week (OE Week) celebrates learning about open education and actively sharing Open Educational Resources (OER). The Library is committed to OER adoption and creation, and we hope you’ll be able to take a moment this week to explore the possibilities that open education offers!

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that allow for free use and repurposing of educational content.

Why OER?

  • Lower the cost of higher education and save students money
  • Provide equitable access to instructional materials
  • Find new ideas, activities and resources posted by instructors from around the country
  • Locate textbooks that are peer reviewed and frequently updated
  • Create and share instructional content openly
  • Co-create with students using open pedagogy practices

How can the Library help?
We’re here to consult with you about both OER adoption and creation. Check out these library guides to get started, or contact the OER Team or your subject librarian.

  • The Library’s Open Educational Resources guide has information about OER resources, Open Textbook repositories, and examples of OER adoption on our campuses. This guide includes:
    • The OER by Subject Guide to help you find OER related to topics you teach, including presentations, course outlines, learning activities, etc.
    • The OER Textbooks Guide to help you find open textbooks to save students money, including links to some of the most robust repositories of OER that you can search and filter results as you would with any database
    • The Licensed Educational Resources (LER) Guide to help you find high-quality content that the Library purchases or subscribes to and that you can use alongside OER to keep costs low for students.
  • If you’re planning to create your own OER, either with students or as a scholarship project, the Library can help.
    • The UW Libraries offers several open publishing platforms that you can use to create OER
    • If you’re working with students on open pedagogy projects, be sure to check out the Library’s Open Student Work Guide and Statement on Student Rights in Open Environments

Using OER Textbooks

Did you know how much money students can save using OER materials?

From 2018 to 2020, Cascadia College’s math division has worked to convert its Pre-calculus, Business Math, Math in Society, Developmental Math and Calculus sequences to Open Ed textbooks. By Fall 2020, 82% of math sections at Cascadia are using OER materials and in that quarter alone, students saved $120,000.  By the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, the savings to students will be $250,000!

Want to check out examples of OER textbooks, activities, and learning objects relevant to your subject discipline?  Want to browse through repositories of OER that you can plug-and-play with minimum fuss?  Want to create your own OER, but are looking for inspiration from other educators doing similar work?

The OER by Subject Guide and the OER Textbooks Guide are the places to start!  In the “by Subject” guide, you can find examples of the wide range of OER, from complete textbooks, to course outlines, to check-on-learning activities, to multimedia presentations, organized by academic discipline.  In the “Textbooks” guide, you can find links to some of the most robust repositories of OER which you can search in the same manner as any database, filtering for just the sort of content you’re looking for.

Library-licensed Resources

What is the difference between Open Educational Resources OER) and Library-licensed resources (LLR)?

The two categories may seem the same, but there are some fundamental differences in what is considered “open:” 

  • Open Educational Resources are available for others to use and adapt, and are usually accompanied by a Creative Commons license. As long as you credit the original creator, there are typically few limitations on who can use the resource, or how. Re-use, re-mix, re-purpose, and re-joice! (according to the license specifications, of course!)
  • Library-licensed resources are not considered to be Open Educational Resources since the library purchases or subscribes to them. These resources typically have licensing limitations on access and use, but some have user-friendly access rules that make them ideal for course adoption.

So why are we talking about Library-licensed Resources during Open Education week?

The Library purchases or subscribes to a number of high-quality licensed educational resources (LER) such as ebooks, streaming media, and article databases, which can be used alongside OER and other affordable options in your courses. Using licensed resources as an alternative to commercial textbooks can help keep costs down for students, and can provide more equitable access to instructional materials. 

Our OER guide has some great starting points for finding library resources that serve unlimited, simultaneous users.

Before assigning ebooks as course texts, do check the copyright and/or licensing restrictions. Be aware that not all library purchased ebooks allow multiple, simultaneous users, or publishers may place license restrictions on downloading and printing

We know the mix of platforms and rules for ebooks and other online resources is confusing! If you are unsure whether a licensed resource is a good candidate to use in your course, or have questions about how to integrate these materials into your Canvas site, please contact Campus Library Reserves or your Subject Librarian for help. 

Open Pedagogy

Have you tried open pedagogy?

Open pedagogy is an opportunity for students to co-create learning materials or open publications with faculty as part of their coursework. Students produce new knowledge and participate in scholarly conversations while actively learning themselves. Students create open and shareable scholarship that others can use and learn from, rather than doing assignments that only instructors will see.

How can the Library help?:

  • Open Student Work Guide and Statement on Student Rights in Open Environments
  • Workshops or Canvas activities to teach students about “open,” Creative Commons, and sharing their work openly
  • Open publishing platforms such as Pressbooks, Omeka, WordPress, and more that faculty can use with students
  • Open pedagogy assignment and project examples

Contact us any time to talk through your ideas!

The Library is your partner in Open Education!

Thank you for engaging with Open Education this week! We hope that you will be inspired to explore open educational resources (OER), use a licensed educational resource (LER) or low-cost textbook alternative, create your own open pedagogy assignments or teaching materials, and check out how the Library can support you in the work of open education.

Questions? Ask us!
OER Team email 
Open Educational Resources Guide

Your partners in Open,
(Members : Alexander Bellairs, Denise Blike, Heather Cyre, Denise Hattwig, Suzan Parker, Myra Waddell (Library), and Anne Tuominen (Cascadia College faculty and eLearning Designer)