Open Educational Resources (OER)


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)."

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.

Library staff wearing Open for Learning shirts

OER Degree Initiative

LWTech is 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.

Library as Open Education Leaders (LOEL)

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. One LOEL collaboration occurred at LWTech between Chemistry Professor Priyanka Pant and Faculty Librarian Heath Davis. This work formally initiated librarian-centered OER involvement at LWTech. More information on the LOEL project can be read in its summary report

Assessment in Action (AiA) Project on Open Pedagogy

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

Optics, Photonics, and Lasers Technical Education Coordination Network

LWTech is 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. Because this is a network grant, LWTech is working 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 Librarian Katherine Kelley are updating Laser Technology (formerly Photonics) curricula to OER for three courses that previously used costly and outdated materials. These updates continue to be reviewed and revised by partner colleges and, once complete, will be distributed nationwide for any institution to use and adapt.