Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

A guide to educational material that are freely available to use, adapt, share, and reuse.

Creating open educational resources

Considerations

  • Collaborate! Reach out to the OER librarians to help connect you with collaborators both within and outside the library.

  • Note the copyright terms of the images and videos you will need before starting your project.

  • Save your OER in any document format that doesn't require proprietary software to edit.

  • Share your work openly on a platform that others can access.

 

Guides for Authoring OER

  • The OER Starter Kit - written by Abby Elder, an excellent introduction to OER, particularly useful to those new to the field, covering: Getting Started, Copyright, Finding OER, Teaching with OER, and Creating OER.  It includes the useful planning document, the “OER Project Roadmap Worksheet.”

  • VIVA Open! Advancing Open Educational Practice Workshop Series - Includes sessions on OER Design, Authoring, and Remixing, as well as Including Students as Course Creators and Contributors, focusing on the free authoring environment, Open Author.  Included are templates for design and authoring, as well as instructions for using the Open Author tool.  VIVA hosts an Open Educational Practitioners community to facilitate the exchange of resources, ideas and information by OER practitioners.  Open Author can be launched from this group site. 

  • BC Campus Self Publishing Guide - Serves as a reference for individuals or groups wanting to write and self-publish an open textbook.  It provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, publication, and maintenance of an open textbook.  Copyright, open-copyright licenses, and the differences between citation and attribution are discussed as well as the importance of copy editing and proofreading.  Checklists and templates are also provided. 

  • Authoring Open Textbooks by the Open Textbook Network - Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools.

  • Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students - A handbook for faculty interested in practicing open pedagogy by involving students in the making of open textbooks, ancillary materials or other OER.

  • WikiEducation - Information on teaching and learning with Wikipedia.

  • BC Campus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit - The goal of this accessibility toolkit is to provide resources for each content creator, instructional designer, educational technologist, librarian, administrator, and teaching assistant to create a truly open textbook--one that is free and accessible for all students. 

  • Creating and Modifying Open Educational Resources - Step-by-step guide to creating and modifying content.  Created by Affordable Learning Georgia.

  • Marketing Open and Affordable Courses - This collaboratively authored guide helps institutions navigate the uncharted waters of tagging course material as open educational resources (OER) or under a low-cost threshold by summarizing relevant state legislation, providing tips for working with stakeholders, and analyzing technological and process considerations. The first half of the book provides high-level analysis of the technology, legislation, and cultural change needed to operationalize course markings. The second half features various case studies.  

Copyright and Licensing

 

Documents and presentations

  • Inkscape: This open source application creates and edits PDF files. Includes a vector drawing and graphics tool and is a great option if your document is image-heavy.

  • LibreOffice: An open office suite of tools (ala Microsoft Office) that includes word processing, PDF editor, spreadsheets, presentations, small database, images, and more.

  • Open Author (from OER Commons): An editing, cloning, and publishing interface all in one that allows for the creation of courses, units, lessons, activities, and presentations. Note that it is not currently capable to produce portable formats like ebooks and PDF files.

  • Microsoft Office can also be used to create non-proprietary document formats. 

Images

  • GIMP is a full-featured and open source image editing application with somewhat of a learning curve | GIMP tutorials.

  • GIMPSHOP, also open source and built using GIMP code, is an image editing application resembling Photoshop.

  • Greenshot is a free, open source tool for taking, editing, and annotating screenshots.

  • Adobe Photoshop, which can be purchased with an educational license from the UVA Bookstore, allows you to create image files in a number of open source image formats,

  • InkScape is an open source application that creates and edits PDFs and also is a vector drawing and graphics tool. A better option for PDF editing if your document is image-heavy.

  • Dia is a free, open source application used to create flowcharts and other kinds of charts and diagrams.

Audio

Creating good audio files will require an external microphone as opposed to the one that came with your desktop or laptop. UVA users can utilize the equipment available at the Robertson Media Center on the third floor of Clemons Library. 

 
Audio Editing
  • Audacity is an open source audio editing software. Audacity comes with a learning curve.  If you are unfamiliar with it, you may benefit from accessing these tutorials. There is ongoing controversy about data security and privacy in Audacity...we're investigating.
    • You can review Audacity alternatives here: https://lifehacker.com/10-of-the-best-audacity-alternatives-1847230891. 
  • GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for macOS and iOS that allows users to create music or podcasts. 

 

Video Production
  • Screencast-o-matic records and allows for editing of videos of your computer screen.

  • Softchalk can be used to create interactive tutorials and mashup text/video.

  • iMovie and Moviemaker, for Mac and Windows respectively, can be used to edit video and output it to open source formats. 

Considerations

Publish with tools that produce non-proprietary formats that are easy to

  • Navigate
  • Access on different devices
  • and are accessible off-line (i.e., in portable formats) to allow for access across the digital divide.

PDF format is ideal for text OER. Other alternatives include open source word processing applications, odt format (the open version of .doc/.docx), or an HTML web page. 

Publishing platforms

  • Pressbooks: Open source software, it is an editing, cloning, and publishing interface all in oneAllows for easy creation of portable formats like typeset PDF files (i.e., structured to improve the reading experience) and ebooks. Local hosting of most themes is available with its free version; proprietary hosting, themes, and tech support are available for a fee.

  • Libretexts: Online platform for creation and dissemination of OER

  • OER Commons "Open Author: Create resources with both instructor and student-facing views; host them in OER Commons. 

  • Jupyter Book: Build publication-quality books and documents from computational materials

Make your work discoverable

  • Upload it to Libra, UVA's institutional repository.  It will automatically become findable through VIRGO

  • Add it to the Open Textbook Library

  • Register it with OER Commons (see green button upper right)

  • Register it with VIVA Open (see blue button upper right)

  • Add it to Merlot

OER Communities

  • Rebus Community: An online platform for collaborative authoring and reviewing open textbooks. Another editing, cloning, and publishing interface all in one.   

Free Hosting Options

Images & Audio Files
  • Flickr is a free image hosting service (up to one terabyte) that allows you to create galleries and slideshows as well as mark your content as Creative Commons. 
  • PodBean provides easy uploading and publishing tools, templates, custom domains, social & promotional tools, embeddable podcast player, and more.

  • Podomatic allows you to create your own podcast website.  Anyone can listen, share and download MP3s of your episodes.

 

Video
  • YouTube is perhaps the most popular spot for hosting video; however, unless you direct the learner to your specific video(s), they may get lost attempting to navigate the millions of search results.  
  • Vimeo functions similar to YouTube but with a smaller user-base, less clutter from lower quality videos, and no advertisements. 
  • School Tube is created for K-12 students.  The content is both educator and teacher created and a valuable tool for education majors.  School Tube screens content in order to protect children from harmful content and invasions of their privacy.

 

Print & Presentations
  • Scribd allows the upload of Word documents that can be embedded into blogs, web pages, or online courses.  Note: Scribd has shifted focus to selling subscriptions to their ebook collection.
  • SlideShare allows the upload of PowerPoint presentations that can be embedded into blogs, webpages, and online courses.  You can mark your content as Creative Commons.
  • Google Drive allows for the upload of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint slideshows that can be linked but not embedded.

 

Lessons
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) are great places to keep copies of your OER for your courses; however, since they do not allow public access, you may need to provide access via downloads or streaming.
  • The University offers open courses through Coursera.  
  • LibraOpen is affiliated with the University of Virginia Library and all materials become part of the Library's catalog.  Note: Users will need to NetBadge in to access the link.  

Accessibility Resources

UVA Library provides the following accessibility guides:

Creating Web Accessible Multimedia

Making Web Accessible Maps

 

Additional Resources:

 

The goal of the Accessibility Toolkit - 2nd Edition is to provide resources for each content creator, instructional designer, educational technologist, librarian, administrator, and teaching assistant to create a truly open textbook—one that is free and accessible for all students.

 

 

 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. Web Accessibility Principles Easy Checks  |  Tips for Designing for Web Accessibility

 

WebAIM is an organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at Utah State University.