Skip to Main Content

Open Educational Resources (OER)

How to replace Your Course Readings

You've decided that you want to replace your commercially licensed textbook with OER materials—now what? There are many different ways that you can approach replacing your course materials. This basic overview will help you get started:

  1. Consider your current material. What do you like about it? What learning outcomes are you trying to accomplish? Is there a specific subject area that is important? What don't you like about it? For example, you may feel that your current writing and composition textbook explains brainstorming well, but doesn't cover writing dialog enough, and you wish there were more interviews with professional writers. This will help you define what you are looking for in an OER replacement.
  2. Define your needs. Using the evaluation from above, identify what is most important to you in course material. Is it a textbook replacement or a variety of resources? 
  3. Search. There are many places you can find OER materials, from subject-specific to multidisciplinary databases. You can get started using the resources outlined under "OER Sources." Don't be afraid to try different databases and different search terms! 
  4. Evaluate. Once you've identified a resource you may want to  use, you'll need to evaluate it, similar to how you would for traditionally licensed material. Consider if the material is reviewed, and by whom, the reputation of the author or institution, the learning outcomes and objectives, the technical quality, and the licensing declaration. 
  5. Adopt and use. Congratulations, you've picked your material! All that's left is to work it into your course readings and determine how to integrate it into your LMS. Make sure to give attribution to the author according to the license on the resource. This Attribution Builder from Open Washington will build it for you, much like a citation maker. 
  6. Celebrate! You're helping to reduce costs to students, while increasing student retention and persistence. You may even be increasing students' perception of you!