Open Textbooks & Open Educational Resources (OER's)

Benefit to Teaching and Learning

Not all media for your course/program needs to be created from scratch. When time is limited development is not always possible but that should not stop you from resourcing learner effectively. One of the great tenants of "open education" worth exploring, and try to leverage, is the idea of "reuse" and "remix". Why reinvent the wheel if resources may already exist in a form that you can use for your course? In some cases these resources are licensed specifically to be adapted and changed to fit your situation and needs. The Teaching Commons and the Library can help you to make effective use of open textbooks, and resources to benefit your teaching and learning needs.

OER is sharing graphic

"OER is sharing" by giulia.forsythe is marked with CC0 1.0

Examples of OER & OEP in practice

#1 Course compilation & Adaptation

The ExplOERer course, developed through the curating and compiling of open educational resources, and then delivering it as an open course that helps participants gain i) awareness of benefits and disadvantages of using OER, ii) search, discover and evaluate OER, and iii) an understanding of the process of adapting and reusing OER for teaching.

Created with funding from the European Commission to teach language teachers in Europe about reusing materials in class, the course was built entirely using resources that already existed under a Creative Commons license and allowed adaptation. As a result of this the first version (written and delivered in English) could then be translated into Polish and Swedish, and able to include those language options.

#2 Material transformation: Open Source Science TV to Open Textbook

An initiative was set to open license science broadcast TV. A significant amount of raw video footage was opened up for use and modification. Click on the image to start exploring some amazing and free science TV content!

Open source science tv screenshot


TU Delft was one of many who took on the challenge of utilizing the content available to develop their the "Mind of the Universe" documentary series, and this spurred the development of their  Mind of the Universe massively open online course (MOOC). 

From Massively open courses to Open Textbooks

Because the above TU Delft MOOC content (course pages, activity, video lectures, etc) is openly licensed, the course materials were available for reuse and remixing. Once the MOOC was delivered and refined the content developed was repurposed into an open textbook for academic use. The result is a no-cost, peer-reviewed, open-licensed academic text that is available for download by chapter or in whole.

open course textbook screenshot

More information to help you adopt open education practices

  • Enroll in the self-study online course Embedding EdMedia Effectively.  This course provides a module on Finding, sharing and caring for Open Education Resources, where you can review examples and best practices. To enroll, log into mycourselink and select the 'Self-registration: Academic and Training' link from the support menu. 
  • Review Lakehead's Faculty Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) page 
  • eCampusOntario Educator Resources page supports Ontario Educators Through tools and initiatives that allow educators to develop content and further the growth of Open Education.