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Affordable Textbooks Initiative

Open Educational Resource Repositories 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are open access: either in the public domain, or licensed so they can be freely used, reused, and adapted. They can include textbooks, tests, and learning modules.

  • LibreTexts - nonprofit organization supporting open textbooks and learning materials
  • Mason OER Metafinder  - searches OER repositories as well as open access collections like the New York Public Library (Mason University)
  • OpenStax - A nonprofit educational initiative that publishes peer-reviewed open textbooks written by professionals in the field and edited for accuracy, scope, and sequence. The resources are accessible online, can be downloaded as a pdf, accessed on tablets and phones with a free app, or can be printed on demand for a cost ranging between 25 to 75 dollars.  Each item has additional resources which may include course cartridges, question banks, sample syllabi, and PowerPoint slides. Reviews of these texts can be seen on the Open Textbook Library. (Rice University).  
  • Open Textbook Library - search more than 700 higher educational textbooks that can be downloaded for free or printed at a low cost. The textbooks are peer-reviewed and are currently used in higher education. New books are added frequently. The website is easy to navigate by subject, new additions, and those in progress. (University of Minnesota)
  • OASIS - Openly Available Sources Integrated Search - open access content from 98 sources (SUNY Geneseo)

Images, video, and more:

 

Evaluating Open Educational Resources

Once you have found some OER resources, you will want to evaluate them to see if they meet your pedagogical and informational needs. The acronym CAAAPS could serve as a mnemonic device to remember certain criteria:

C:  CLARITY: Information conveyed should be clear, comprehensible, and presented in a logical, coherent manner that has nice flow, smooth transitions, and numerous examples to illustrate or support ideas. 

A:  ACCURACY: Content is current, accurate, and verifiable by own expertise or through external means; it is free from any problems with grammar, syntax, or mechanics. If hyperlinks are used, they should be up to date.

A:  ACCESSIBILITY:  Content should be accessible to students with disabilities, e.g., including alternate text with images, closed captioning with films or videos, and formats compatible with assistive technology tools.

A.  ADAPTABILITY: Resources should be flexible enough to be subdivided, rearranged, modified, and updated easily. Language should be adapted to audience—reading level should be appropriate for students.

P.  PURPOSE: What are the authors’ intentions? Do they aspire to inform in an objective way, or is there a religious, ideological, or subjective bias in their writing?

S.  SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS: Does the resource have an answer key, text bank or accompanying websites with additional teaching materials for instructors? Are there study guides, tutorials, glossaries, bibliographies, or self-assessing quizzes for students?

Library-Licensed Materials

WKU Libraries provides access to more than 60,000 e-journals and 100,000 e-books, including some textbooks. Search our catalog, contact your subject specialist librarian, or ask a member of the OER team for information on what resources are available through the library. 

The Library is not able to license content from many traditional textbook publishers (such as Cengage, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson). Other publishers like Springer, Wiley, and most university presses do license their content to libraries. The contents of our databases and e-journals are also great options for creating course packs. Just be sure you talk to a librarian first to make sure the content is licensed for classroom use and that the links you use will work off campus!