Supporting OER Adoption

5 Ways to Use OER in Your Class InfographicAs you have learned more about OER, you may have realized that you’re already using OER in your work. It could be a video that you have been using in your classroom for years, or a government document that you have assigned as part of a learning activity.

Take a few minutes to explore the 5 Ways to Use OER in Your Class infographic.

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Download the 5 Ways to Use OER Infographic

After you have found OER relevant to your course objectives and student learning outcomes, there are a few considerations for ensuring successful adoption of the open materials into your teaching practice.

The evaluation and integration of the material into the course content is most likely your responsibility, but in the process of adoption, you may interact with other faculty, librarians, instructional designers, and campus administrators – all of whom can support your OER adoption.


Attributing a Creative Commons Licensed OER

We have learned that Creative Commons licenses require that the user of a creative work attribute the creator or copyright holder. If you plan to adopt Creative Commons licensed materials then you must include all required attributions, including as much of the following information as possible:

Title and Source. What is the name of the material? Please provide the title of the work you are adopting. Be sure to hyperlink the title to the original sources. If a hyperlink is not available, describe where you got the work.

Author. Who owns the material? Please name the author or authors of the material in question. Sometimes, the licensor may want you to give credit to some other entity, like a company or pseudonym. In those cases, please just do what they request. Also, if the author has a webpage, please link to the author’s page.

License. How can I use it? Please provide the exact name of the Creative Commons license under which the work was released, and hyperlink the license name to the license deed page. You can use the acronyms instead of the full name of the license.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help you build the attribution text so you can simply copy and paste the text from the tool into your materials.

The Open Attribution Builder
The Open Attribution Builder is a web tool to assist users of CC material to properly attribute.  It allows you to enter the Title, URL for work, Author and website, Organization, and CC license type and will provide attribution information which can be copied and pasted into your own work containing the CC material.  Here is an example of using the tool to provide its own attribution.

“Open Attribution Builder” by Open Washington, SBCTC is licensed under CC BY 4.0

For text resources (e.g. books, worksheets, PowerPoint slides, etc), include the attribution details where it naturally makes sense, such as immediately preceding or following the work, or as the footer along the bottom of the page on which the Creative Commons work appears. For videos, include the attribution information near the work as it appears on screen during the video. For sound recordings (e.g. podcasts), mention the name of the artist during the recording (like a radio announcement) and provide full attribution details in text near the podcast where it is being stored (eg. blog, school intranet, learning management system, etc).

Getting Curricular Approval (if Needed)

When you adopt OER, consider whether you need to get approval from others at your college for instructional material choices such as the division or department chair, curriculum committee, articulation officer, disability services office, etc. Any institutional policies that are specific to your campus or department regarding course materials should be considered well in advance so you can make a smooth transition to OER.

Delivering OER to Your Students

There may be several stakeholders on campus involved in delivering instructional materials to students, including the bookstore, library, IT help desk, and possibly on-site print services. It is important to engage these stakeholders in your move to OER as they can all assist in the smooth delivery of open materials to students.

The simplest and most economical method of delivering OER to students is to embed it into your school’s Learning Management System, or LMS.

Work with SUNY OER Services to help you implement OER you select into your LMS course.

Additionally, you may provide a link for students to view the OER online or to download it. Most open textbooks are available in a few different downloadable formats, such as PDF, ePub, Mobi, or DAISY formats. Keep in mind that certain formats may be preferable for students with visual impairments.

Downloadable options may also be useful for students without reliable Internet access so they can download the material to their computers or mobile devices for offline access.

Low-cost printing is another option for open textbooks. Some OER textbook providers offer low-cost printing services directly from their websites, in which case you may be able to work with your institution’s bookstore to acquire printed copies. Other printing options could include institutional printing services or students using free printing allowances to print chosen sections of the textbook.

Consider combining as many of these approaches as possible. Students will appreciate all the methods that are possible to access their course materials, and most will make use of multiple methods throughout the semester.


Write on this Course: Supporting OER Adoption

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Identifying key supporters at your institution is an important step in OER adoption. Knowing who these individuals/departments are, and the roles they play in the OER landscape at your institution is an integral part of a successful OER implementation.

  • Who is available at your institution to help you identify, find, and adopt OER?
  • Are there any stakeholders that you need to involve in your decision to adopt OER?

You can use Hypothesis to add your answers as public annotations to this page. Comments are welcome anywhere on the page. Please use the tag #SUNYOERChat in your posts.

“Hypothes.is_logo.jpg” by Hypothes.is is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


The content of this course is adapted from the following works:


Creative Commons CC BY License ImageUnless otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.