Open Educational Resources
CTC’s OER initiative has saved our students over $6,000,000 since 2018.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. Central Texas College (CTC) is attuned to the rising costs of textbooks and has embraced an initiative to reduce these costs to zero by replacing commercial textbooks with OER, as quality materials are available. In addition to cost savings, you can access OER online, and in many cases, you can download them to your computer for offline viewing. Most have a print purchase option. Please be aware that a print book may not contain recent updates that were made to the digital materials.
Courses are not OER—the instructional materials used in the courses are OER.
What are OER? Open Educational Resources (OER) are defined in the Texas Education Code, Section 51.451 as “teaching, learning, or research resources that are in the public domain or that have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use, adaptation, and redistribution by any person. The term may include full course curricula, course materials, modules, textbooks, media, assessments, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques, whether digital or otherwise, used to support access to knowledge.” As you can see, licenses to software and other materials provided by CTC or the departments at no cost to the student do not meet the requirements for OER.
Once a course has been designated for OER, the OER are used for ALL delivery methods, with the possible exception of multimedia courses. The Blackboard master courses continue to use the standard template with minimal modifications for OER.
We try to identify complete textbooks that are available in a variety of formats to meet student needs and restrictions. A print option for purchase is preferable. Because the OER are free, some courses utilize more than one—either as a whole or portions. Please be aware that a print book may not contain recent updates that were made to the digital materials.
OER vary with respect to ancillary materials for both students and faculty, but many offer student study guides as well as instructor manuals, test banks, and PowerPoints. Courses using OER may incorporate supplemental items, just as with courses using publisher materials.
The academic and vocational departments choose the materials. When requesting development or revision of courses utilizing OER, the author(s), publisher, copyright date, source such as URL, and ISBN (and possibly e-ISBN) must be included on the form and should also appear on the CTC Booklist when the course is scheduled.
The availability of OER for a few disciplines, such as Protective Services and Child Development, is somewhat limited, but more OER are being created daily. For some courses, rather than having a book but to minimize student costs, we have linked out to several websites. Notify DEET of any issues found with links. These courses do not comply with the official definition of OER.
A primary concern for developing courses with OER is identifying and evaluating the OER.
These are some starting points for identifying OER:
- Open Textbook Library: https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/
- OpenStax: https://openstax.org/ and OpenStax CNX: https://cnx.org/
- Merlot: https://www.merlot.org/ Search by keywords, browse by discipline, or choose the community portals.
- OER Commons: https://www.oercommons.org/
- Do a browser search by entering keywords followed by OER.
These are things to look for:
- Multiple formats to include print option.
- Licensing — unrestricted to share-alike. You may be able to modify the resource. Share-alike means that you can make changes but must make these available to the public. The CTC Library can host OER created this way.
- View the various licenses and their restrictions at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/.
DEET is happy to assist with the search for OER materials for specific courses and maintains a database with possible items that we have found.