Why Do I Use OER Materials?
Textbooks are an expensive investment for students. When assigning a textbook, the professor should keep in mind how much he or she will use it.
At my other university I used to teach at, I had to use the textbook that the department forced me to use. Other times, I had to settle for books that I would only use a small portion of, having angry students feel they wasted their money on a book that was rarely used for the class. I felt really bad about this.
Then, when I came to Pace University, and I had the freedom to use whatever I wanted, as long as I followed the curriculum, I used my own materials, in addition to utilizing all the resources I could without having students to pay for a textbook. At that time, I did not know my materials were called open access and/or open educational resources (OER).
The main reason I use OER is because I can be myself and not conform to materials that I have to force myself to use. This gives me the freedom to teach naturally.
Writing Original OER Texts
I chose to create some of my own open educational resources (OER) because no book was written with my teaching style in mind.
There are several considerations that need to be accounted for when writing an original OER text:
- It takes a LOT of time and planning.
- The planning and writing should ideally start a semester or during breaks between semesters in advance if possible.
- Copyright laws must be followed at all times.
- The official copyright website (https://www.copyright.gov/) has all the information about copyrights you need to know.
- If you are not sure about copyrights, never assume it will be okay.
- You should always ask an expert in the field or a point person at your institution.
- Websites are there one day and gone the next.
- You should always check any links one final time right before submitting the original OER text to the person who will be publishing it.
How I Find OER Materials
I typically comb the papers for anything that excites me for topics for my classes. The first paper I read is The New York Times every morning.
For example, I would look at this article The Administration Orders Hospitals to Bypass the C.D.C. with Key Data, Alarming Health Experts at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/trump-cdc-coronavirus.html. Then, a link in the article would get me to here: