Open Educational Resources (OER)

Faculty guide on Open Educational Resources

What are Open Education Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely available, openly licensed classroom resources and tools such as textbooks, documents, media, and more that can be adapted for use. They are shared in higher education by individual instructors and instructional designers to both assist instructors in teaching and to ease the financial burden of classroom resources on students.  

The libraries at West Chester University are committed to providing support and resources for faculty and students to adopt affordable or freely available, high-quality classroom materials and resources. In September 2017, The Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced in Congress in an effort to expand the use of open textbooks while reducing the cost of textbooks for college students. This act has been under consideration since then and has been supplemented by a federal open textbook pilot grant.

For more information on OER, use the following resources:

Why Choose OER?

There are many benefits in choosing to transition from high-cost textbooks to low or no cost OER:

  • Proven increased student success.
  • Reduces student costs of higher education.
  • Accessible - students will always have access even after a course is over.
  • Adaptable - you can make changes to fit the needs of your course.
  • Collaborative - community of instructors in higher education collaborating and sharing reputable classroom materials.

Countering the Barriers to OER

We understand that OER is a large and cumbersome project to take on and that there are perceived and real barriers. The librarians and OER Committee are fully prepared to guide and assist faculty in finding credible, reliable, and appropriate OER resources. 

OER Are Hard To Find
  • The library has created a LibGuide that directs faculty to reputable resources. Whether through OER sites, or through materials the library already has access to, the knowledge and skills of the librarians can make this an easy and exciting project.
  • Librarians can research and find library owned and subscribed materials
  • Library textbook reserves assistance.
  • Copyright assistance
There Are Not Enough OER Resources
  • New OER resources are being created every day! 
  • The library has many resources including books, ebooks, journals, streaming media, and more that can be used as OER.
  • ​If you want to use a specific but for cost textbook, contact reserves for options to make resources available to students.
OER Are Not Current
  • True OER are adaptable and can be updated or edited to fit your curriculum. 
  • The library consistently purchases or subscribes to current books, ebooks, journals, and streaming content that can be adopted as OER.
OER Are Poor Quality
  • Most OER is created by other professors or reputable authors in their field or hosted by higher education institutions.
  • With the assistance of a library subject specialist, you can utilize current library resources that are of high quality.
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