Open Educational Resources (OER)

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General Overview

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that have been openly licensed to share intellectual content or reside in the public domain. OER include textbooks, streaming videos, assessment materials, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support knowledge acquisition.

"OER Defined" by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is licensed under CC BY 3.0

The benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER) include:

  • Cost savings for students
  • The availability of course materials – including textbook content – on day one of class for all students
  • The opportunity for faculty to remix openly licensed materials to fit course learning objectives and to make more relevant and meaningful connections to student experiences, interests, and goals

Open Education at LWTech

 OER @ LWTech Support Site

LWTech takes pride in its commitment to the introduction of OER in academic programs. Disciplines that currently have OER integration include:

  • Math
  • Chemistry and Biology
  • Psychology and Sociology

Classes that use OER are noted in each quarter's Class Schedule. Look for classes in the disciplines listed above with the statement, "This course uses Open Educational Resources (OER)."Library team wearing OER t-shirts

Beyond the formal efforts listed below, Faculty Librarians and other library team members at LWTech are available to help faculty and other educators in their development of OER. Library support includes researching/evaluating/selecting pre-existing OER in desired core subject areas and related (similar) subject areas; providing consultation on necessary original OER requirements; creating course plans and outlines in the context of OER creation; and verifying/validating any licensing requirements for OER developed and used at the college. Additionally, selected members of the library team are responsible for contributing to the overall ecosystem/learning environment of OER and a "culture of open" throughout the LWTech college community.

Openly licensed learning materials are available most readily through the library’s online catalog interface, Primo.

LWTech's Pressbooks

Find or Create Pressbooks

LWTech's Pressbooks Catalog

LWTech now has a subscription to Pressbooks in network with the WA State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Pressbooks is an eBook platform that allows you to find and create your own books. Most of the available books are OER or openly licensed so that you can copy, edit, and reuse them freely. 

OER Projects at LWTech

LWTech was a grantee college in Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative. The college is developing a fully OER pathway for the Associate in Biology DTA/MRP. Students enrolled in OER-designated courses that meet the requirements of the biology degree access textbooks and other course materials for free through their courses in Canvas. They also have the option to buy print versions of the texts in the campus bookstore for very low cost.

This formal project, run by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, under a LSTA grant, provided mini-grant funding for collaborations between librarians and other faculty. LOEL collaborations included:

  • Professor Priyanka Pant and Faculty Librarian Heath Davis’s work on CHEM& 121  
  • Professor Priyanka Pant and Faculty Librarian Kate Magner’s work on FSE Chemistry
  • Professor Jo Nelson and Faculty Librarian Kate Magner’s work on BIOL& 175 

This work formally initiated librarian-centered OER involvement at LWTech. More information on the LOEL project can be read in its summary report

In Fall 2018, Faculty Librarian Greg Bem and Social Science Professor Sharon Raz introduced an open pedagogy project into Sociology 101. Both agreed that a card game capable of gauging student knowledge of sociological concepts would be appropriate. The initial game and its initial card decks were generated by Sharon and Greg, and the game was run with students in the same quarter. Students were invited to provide feedback on the game mechanics and help tweak the card decks for relevance and contribute new card ideas. Between 2018 and 2020, the game was published and revised twice, and four “expansion packs” were created entirely by student contributions. The Open Sociology Game is considered one of the first intentional open pedagogy projects to be run at the college. The openly licensed game is available to download and its history/background can also be explored. 

LWTech was a sub-awardee of the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education project grant titled Optics, Photonics, and Lasers Technical Education Coordination Network (NSF ATE #1801019), funded in 2018 at $500,000 for three years. In this network grant, LWTech worked with the Principal Investigator previously at Irvine Valley College (CA) and five other colleges and universities in the western U.S.—Gallatin College (MT), Spokane Community College (WA), Oregon Institute of Technology, Idaho State University, and Pima Community College (AZ)—along with their industry partners. At LWTech, Co-Principal Investigator and engineering professor Stephanie Bostwick and Faculty Librarians Katherine Kelley and Sue Wozniak updated Laser Technology (formerly Photonics) curricula to OER for three courses that previously used costly and outdated materials.

In early 2019, Faculty Librarians Greg Bem and Sue Wozniak were awarded an Assessment in Action (AiA) Mini-Grant to investigate the effects of open pedagogy as well as the experience of librarian participation in class. The project, completed in August, 2019, focused on three OER courses that ran in winter and spring quarters. An open pedagogy component was added in the spring iteration of each course, introduced and moderated by the librarians. The librarians qualitatively and quantitatively assessed each course using a student survey at the end of each quarter. Additional insight was gained through discussions with participating faculty. You can learn more about the project by reading the final report or by visiting the project website

During the 2020-21 academic year, the OER Core Team tested and advocated for an institutional subscription to Pressbooks, an eBook creation and storage platform that houses and helps develop OER. The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges initiated and maintains WA’s network account, which LWTech joined through a SPARC grant fund. In summer of 2021, LWTech established a PressBooks catalog and now anyone at LWTech can create digital books through PressBooks 

The LWTech English Language Learning (ELL) program and Art department have collaborated and, with the support of librarian Sue Wozniak, released an anthology of student stories and student art on our PressBooks platform: Stories from Our Lives: LWTech English Language Students in Words and Images. These books are also printed and added to the library's Easy Reading collection for physical use by ELL students in future quarters. View the book in Library Search here. This is an ongoing project and additional volumes are forthcoming.

Over the course of two years, three cohorts of Dental Hygiene students have participated in creating video presentations of their research to supplement their research posters. The video assignment in Research II includes education on open licenses, and students have the opportunity to add an open license to their videos. Should students choose to do so, their videos are added to the Dental Hygiene program's YouTube channel.

In 2021, LWTech was awarded a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant titled Creation and Modernization of Technological Education in Electronics and Welding through Open Educational Resources that are Free to Share, Use, and Revise (NSF ATE #2100136). In this three-year grant, which is funded at $365,000, three Electronics Technology and three Welding Technology courses will be updated to accessible OER materials with interdisciplinary and hybrid delivery elements where possible. The new curriculum will include connections to diverse student experiences and interests to recruit and retain students from varying backgrounds. Faculty Librarian, Katherine Kelley, and Professor Priyanka Pant are leading the project with collaborative work from Electronics Professor Neha Kardam and Welding Professor Sarah Mason.
The Diversity and Social Justice (DSJ) Faculty Guide was created following the initial training course for faculty wanting to teach courses under the DSJ requirement. The book primarily features writing by Professor Sharon Raz, who designed and runs the course, as well as contributions from faculty within the first iteration of the course in 2021. Faculty Librarian Greg Bem served as the editor of the book. This resource will continually be updated with DSJ faculty submissions.