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.

Bookman, Steven, "ENG 201A: Writing across the Disciplines Textbook" (2020). Open Educational Resources. 2.

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:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2020). COVID-19 Guidance
for Hospital Reporting and FAQs For Hospitals, Hospital Laboratory, and Acute Care Facility Data Reporting (Updated July 10, 2020). U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/covid-19-faqs-hospitals-hospital-laboratory-acute-care-facility-data-reporting.pdf.


My Goto OER Texts

Ted Talks (https://www.ted.com/talks)

PBS videos (https://www.pbs.org/)

Government websites

MERLOT (https://www.merlot.org/merlot/)

List serves