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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is an OER (Open Educational Resource)?
As defined by the Canadian Association of Research libraries, Open Educational Resources (OER) are free to use and openly licensed teaching and learning materials. As stated by leading open education proponent David Wiley, ‘open content’ describes a copyrightable work that is licensed in a way that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities which are retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.
Types of Open Educational Resources
Textbooks are one of the most commonly known form of OER, largely for the cost-savings potential for students. Textbooks are often inflexible resources; using an OER textbook allows for greater customization and Precision.
Curricula & Materials
Students often have to pay out of pocket for course codes to access online lessons, quizzes, and course materials. OER allows faculty to gear these materials more closely to their own syllabi while also saving students money!
Audiovisual OERs are a great way to incorporate accessible materials into your classroom teaching through animation, video content, and audio clips.
How are OERs beneficial to educators?
OER enables flexible course design and delivery, including the ability to build tailored resources that incorporate new relevant content in real time to contextualize important social, economic, and political developments. Educators can increase student engagement by incorporating elements of open pedagogy into their course design, providing students with experiential learning opportunities where they may contribute to the design and development of an OER as part of their course assignments.
How are OERs beneficial to students?
For students, finances can be a concern when buying commercial textbooks. OERs are one way in which educators can help students gain free, full access to course materials.
How are OERs created?
Through the Atlantic Open Educational Resources (AtlanticOER) initiative, CAUL-CBUA provides access to Pressbooks, a digital authoring and publishing platform that enables educators to create/adapt open textbooks for their courses.
What are the different ways an OER can be created?
  • Link to an existing open textbook wherever it is currently hosted, and use it with no changes
  • Adopt (clone) an existing open textbook into the AtlanticOER Pressbooks network and adapt the content for the needs of their course
  • Import multiple open textbooks into the AtlanticOER Pressbooks network and remix the content to create one textbook
  • Create an open textbook from scratch
  • Migrate a commercial textbook for use under an open (Creative Commons) licence (this may require acquiring copyright permissions from the copyright holder)
  • Where are OERs hosted?
    Textbooks being created from scratch, or adapted/remixed, are hosted on the AtlanticOER Pressbooks network. Textbooks adopted with no changes for a course can be linked within a course management system directly to the book where it is hosted.
    Can educators collaborate?
    Yes! Working with others to create a common textbook that you all use for your courses is one of the great benefits of the open textbook model. You can have an unlimited number of collaborators working on a common textbook using Pressbooks.
    How long does it take to create an OER?
    Cloning an existing textbook into the AtlanticOER Pressbooks network can be done in minutes. Adaptation or remixing of existing open textbooks, or creation of a new book, will take longer as it depends on the educator’s timeline.
    Can I integrate other applications when creating/adapting my open textbook on Pressbooks?
    Yes, Pressbooks supports integration with many plugins (Hypothesis, MathJax, TablePress), as well as the creation of interactive content through H5P, and tracking of usage through Google Analytics.
    Which type of licence is used for OER?
    Open textbooks that are adapted/created must be as open as possible. At a minimum, the open textbook must be attributed and allow for the creation of derivatives. In practice, this means that authors may apply a Creative Commons license such as CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, or CC-BY-NC-SA. Content that is adapted or remixed from existing open textbooks might need to use the same Creative Commons license as was used for the original work(s).
    How can educators apply a Creative Commons licence to their open textbook?
    When creating a new open textbook, creators choose which Creative Commons License they wish to apply to their work. If adapting or remixing, the Creative Commons licence for the new work may be dictated by the licence used for the original work(s). Educators should speak with their institutional copyright specialist to discuss any concerns over copyright and OER.
    Where can students access the materials?
    Each book, chapter, and section has a permanent, customizable link that can be added to any Learning/Course Management System (LMS/CMS) so that content can be accessed by students from their course pages in the LMS/CMS.
    Once uploaded, is my OER my intellectual property? Is it the intellectual property of CAAL-CBPA?
    Open textbooks that are adapted/created on the AtlanticOER network should be as open as possible, with the exception of traditional knowledge materials, which may require additional licensing restrictions. Open textbooks should be attributed and allow for the creation of derivatives. In practice, this means that authors may apply a Creative Commons license such as CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, or CC-BY-NC-SA. These materials remain the intellectual property of the creators.
    Is there funding available to creators? How do I apply?
    AtlanticOER is proud to offer a Development Grant Fund. Grants range from $1,000 to $7,000 depending on the proposed project. Each will be awarded to support individuals, groups, or group sprints. You can apply to Support Grants on our grants page.
    Where is the funding for this project coming from?
    AtlanticOER is funded in its first year by the Council of Atlantic Academic Libraries (CAAL-CBPA). CAAL-CBPA has pursued long-term, stable funding to sustain the repository and service beyond this initial year, and is supported by lobbying efforts from the New Brunswick Student Alliance, UPEI Student Union, and Students Nova Scotia. Currently, AtlanticOER is funded in part by the four Atlantic provincial governments through the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET).