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Open Educational Resources (OERs) Toolkit: OER: Low and no cost basics

Where to start?

Welcome! If you're interested in supporting student success by finding and using lower or no cost course materials, you've come to the right place. To get started:

1. Learn what they are:

  • Open Educational Resources are openly licensed --  scroll down to read the definitions on this page to learn more.
  • Other free or low cost materials -- think about incorporating library materials or using copyrighted material with permission. Learn more about copyright here.

2. Think about your course objectives and learning outcomes. Make a list so as you look over low or no cost materials, you can quickly determine what you need. 

  • Remember you do not have to find any one resource that meets every learning outcome -- you can use pieces from more than one open resource and "remix" -- see "The 5rs" below and learn how to Revise/Remix/Create here.

3. Find possible course materials and evaluate them. Explore the Find OERs and OERs for Guided Pathways sections of this toolkit or ask your librarian for more suggestions. 

4. Connect with others to share ideas, ask questions, and get support:

You can connect with colleagues in CCSNH, New Hampshire, or national online forums, or speak with a CCSNH OER Taskforce member:

·         Manchester CC: Deb Baker

·         Great Bay CC: Becky Clerkin

·         White Mountains CC: Melissa Laplante

·         Nashua CC: Jennifer Tripp

·         NHTI: Kerry Cook, Alan Lindsay

·         River Valley CC: Rich Andrusiak, Julie Robinson

·         Lakes Region CC: Nancy Eckert

·         Additional Support/ Project Management:

Meghan Eckner (CCSNH OER Project Director)

Alisa Kadenic-Newman (CCSNH Director of Academic Technology)

Jenn Cournoyer (River Valley CC Interim VP Academic and Student Affairs)

Scroll down to find definitions and keep learning, and please feel free to contact any of us for further assistance and support! 

OERs and library materials in Canvas

You can upload and use OERs in your Canvas courses. You can also share and find materials in Canvas Commons:

One easy way to reduce the cost of course texts for your students is to use library materials:

  • You can link to library eBooks and articles as well as Research Guides in Canvas.
  • See our Faculty Resource Guide for information about links in Canvas and Copyright & Fair Use policies.
  • If you would like a librarian to suggest materials or to help you select them as you plan your syllabus, please call the library at 603-206-8150 or email Deb Baker or Fran Keenan and we will be happy to help!

The 5 Rs

The  "5R's Framework" describes the ways OERs may be used, depending on the way they are licensed:

  • Retain: Users have the right to make, archive, and "own" copies of the content;
  • Reuse:  Content can be reused in its unaltered form;
  • Revise: Content can be adapted, adjusted, modified or altered;
  • Remix: The original or revised content can be combined with other content to create something new;
  • Redistribute: Copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.   

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons Licenses are your guide to which of the 5rs you can apply to a particular resource. For example, you can't revise or remix anything with a ND license -- no derivative. Read this helpful wiki on the CC licenses to find out more about Creative Commons and OER.

"Creative Commons Licenses by Andi Roberts, CC BY-NC-SA"

What are OERs?

"Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (UNESCO).            

OER is related to "textbook free" -- a textbook free course or degree may include OERs but often includes library and other reading materials, placed on reserve or uploaded to Canvas and used according to copyright and fair use guidelines. 

What's the difference between "free" and "open?" Open educational resources are licensed to be re-used, while free just means there is no paywall to access something.

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