Open educational resources (OERs) are any educational materials that are available in the public domain or with an open license. These resources can be used as an alternative to costly traditional textbooks. OERs can save students money and reduce the cost of higher education. OERs may include, but are not limited to, the following: textbooks, learning objects, syllabi, video, audio, tests, assignments, lecture notes, etc.
Course adopted texts (CATs) are library licensed ebooks that are used by faculty in place of a traditional textbook. CATs must be licensed for unlimited simultaneous users to ensure that all students in the course can access the text.
Bluford Library supports a variety of OER initiatives. The library is a member of the Open Textbook Network, an organization that promotes and supports the use of OERs. The library works closely with Instructional Technology Services and Distance Education, as well as the Center for Teaching Excellence, to support faculty who wish to incorporate OERs into tehir courses. The library also supports Open Education North Carolina, a project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to provide free, open textbooks to the University of North Carolina System’s most frequently taught courses.
The library can provide OER consultation services to interested faculty. Liaison librarians can help faculty navigate OER repositories and identify appropriate resources for their courses. If faculty members create their own OERs for their courses, the library can potentially host them in the institutional repository in order to ensure that they are preserved and easily accessible.
The library can support faculty members interested in adopting texts from the library collection. Librarians can help the faculty member determine if an appropriate book exists in the collection, check the license to ensure that unlimited users can access it simultaneously, and help provide access through Blackboard in accordance with the terms of the license.
On a limited basis, the library can also investigate the feasibility of purchasing ebooks for this purpose that have not already been licensed by the library. This service’s availability depends on the library’s budget.