Using OER Courses From Other Platforms
When you find an OER in a platform that you want to use in your own LMS, publish, or distribute to your class, the SUNY OER Services team can assist you with adopting, adapting, remixing, and importing the course into a format that suits your needs.
If you wish to use an OER course from another platform, a few tips will make it easier to do so.
Formats and Timelines for Importing OER from other Platforms
There will generally be five formats of texts/courses that faculty may want to import, and each has its own challenges and general timeline. These estimates are based on full, but midsized courses/texts and extra time should be added for very large publications, like OpenStax. For anything outside of the formats below should be run by the import team*:
- General webpages (e.g. Noba)
- 4-8 weeks. This has the largest possible range as the difficulties can differ greatly depending on the particular page. Less time is needed if the material is all from one source, and more if equations or interactives are included, and interactives may not be able to be copied over.
- Pressbooks webpage (e.g. Open SUNY Textbook**)
- ~1 week turnaround, but more if formatting elements are added, such as hiding answers.
- A small number of Pressbooks pages are on older software and need to be treated more like a general webpage.
- Ebook or EPUB, or DOCX (e.g. Perspectives)
- ~3-4 weeks, but more if formatting/interactive elements are added, such as hiding answers.
- PDF (e.g. Lifespan Development)
- 2-5 months, depending on the length of the text, layout complications, and figures. We strongly discourage working with PDFs, and ask that the faculty member contact the author to see if an editable file can be obtained.
*Right now importing does not include adding Alt text to photos. However, any alt text included in the original is imported. Accessibility standards for page structure are met.
**Pressbooks examples and publishers; below are two examples of different versions/looks of Pressbooks to help you identify one when you see it:
A few directories/publishers that have a lot of Pressbooks content are:
- Rebus Press (all),
- BCCampus (some),
- UH OER (all),
- Open Oregon (all),
- Ohio State (all),
- ATD (all),
- Boundless (all).
Finding an OER
If you are looking for an OER or considering using one you’ve already located, make sure you do your research before adopting and copying the materials. A great place to start is the Oasis search tool.
Evaluate the OER
When evaluating and choosing an OER to use for your course, make sure you consider the following:
- Does it meet the standards required for the course?
- If it is close, am I willing to put in the work required to improve it before using it?
- Am I willing to make improvements over time?
- Will I collaborate with others to improve the content?
- Will I allow students to work with me on it to improve content?
- Am I willing to use it with other materials?
If it does not meet the requirements, have you considered a different OER that does meet the standards you need for your course? SUNY OER Services offers rubrics to help you review OERs.
Just because you find something online, it does not mean the materials are openly licensed. You must review the types of licenses to determine how/if you can use the OER(s).
The types of Creative Commons licenses are:
- Attribution (CC BY)
- Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
- Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)
- Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
- Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)
- Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)
Using an OER
If the OER meets the standards for your course and you decide you want to use it, there are 5 ways you can use an OER.
- Copy and paste the materials. You can copy the information from the existing platform and paste it into a program that allows you to edit. For example, if you find a chapter or activity you want to use, paste it into a Word doc that you can edit. Make sure you include the Creative Commons copyright on the text and provide the appropriate attribution.
- Create links in your online class to the OER materials. The links will be added as external links that open up in either a new tab or a new window.
- If the materials are for a face-to-face class, print the documents and hand them out to your students. Make sure all materials include the Creative Commons copyright.
- Submit a request to have the OER integrated into your campus’s current LMS such as Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, D2L or Schoology. SUNY faculty and staff can submit an OER helpdesk ticket for assistance with integrating an OER into the LMS.
- Finally, you can choose to publish. SUNY OER services can assist you with publishing options.
Obtaining Access to an OER
Many OER courses are ready to adopt. You can find a complete list of courses in the SUNY OER Services Ready-to-Adopt Catalog.
If you have a link to a course you like, it is okay to use an OER course from sites such as Lumen Learning, OpenStax, Saylor, OLI and more. If you know where the course is, copy the URL and paste the link to the course or submit a helpdesk ticket and someone on our team can assist you with converting it into a Candela course shell.
Currently, we have the following courses from other platforms converted in Candela, a shareable platform, for faculty. Please note: some may need to be cleaned up further for use. Please reach out to the SUNY OER Services team for assistance with any of the following courses:
If you need further assistance or have additional questions please contact:
SUNY OER Services
1-844-673-6786 | OER@suny.edu
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.