Open Educational Resources (OERs) at Saint Mary's College

This guide is an introduction to Open Educational Resources and how to find, evaluate, use, and adapt OER materials to help reduce textbook costs.

Adopt or Adapt OERs

Provide your students an alternative to expensive textbooks by following these steps:

  1. Search for the appropriate textbooks for your course. (Browse the open textbooks sources found on this guide.)
  2. Review and evaluate the textbooks based on the content and whether it suits your teaching style and your students. 
  3. Decide if you want to use the textbook as is, edit, or modify the contents. If you want to make edits make sure the licensing allows that. 
  4. Distribute to your students.
  • Adopt -- use an OER as is to replace high-cost materials
  • Adapt -- based on class contexts, combine multiple OER (and add original open content)
  • Author -- publish and license your own work as OER


Adapting / Authoring:

To adopt an OER as is, you can simply add the link to the syllabus and emphasize it's FREE or low-cost to buy a print.

Places to House OERs

If you have authored an OER, there are platforms that allow the content that is created to be stored and accessed. 

It's ok to keep copies of your OER in your course, but that should not be the only place. Learning Management Systems like Canvas don't allow public access and aren't set up for organization and searching that way.

You may need to provide access in three ways:

  • Download the OER
  • Stream the OER or interact with it online
  • Download the source file

Saint Mary's College has an Institutional Repository, SMC Digital Commons. OERs may be housed, uploaded and accessed through this platform.

OERs can be hosted in the cloud on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo (video), Scribd (text), or Google Drive.

OER platforms aggregators such as OER Commons and MERLOT have free content builders for the creation of lessons, courses, and other types of OERs to facilitate discovery by other educators. Other options are Open Textbook Library and Pressbooks

OER Licensing

The creator of any original creative work, including educational resources, holds copyright to the tangible form of the work as a default.

To enable others to use your OERs, license your work properly, either designated as Public Domain or licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.