Go Open with OER

Session Description

Explore how schools have leveraged high-quality, open content to benefit students, then learn how to do this in your campus or district. Walk away with a roadmap detailing how to go open with open educational resources (OER) available from vendors and the community.

Why OER Matters

  1. Saves cost for students
  2. Grants access to more quality choices
  3. Gathers more contributors and reviewers
  4. Helps pre and post learning for students
  5. Limits or eliminates copyright violations

Learn more about why OER matters

What's Happening with OER in Texas?

Quick Stats

  • 42% of Texas administrators have implemented some form of OER within their district, and
  • 12% more are considering it.
  • 44% of the technology leaders in Texas consider OER to be one of the high growth digital initiatives.

Source: SpeakUp Survey

Defining OER

Senate Bill 810 defined OER as:

Resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that allows for free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others

The legal definition of open educational resources, as defined by SB 810, also identifies these resources as full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, or any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

What That Means

The key phrases in the definition are “free,” “reuse,” and “modify.” In order for a resource to be considered an open resource, it has to not only be free, but the user must also have the rights to reuse all or part of it for his own purpose. Let’s take, for example, a high school English literature teacher preparing to teach a unit on Shakespeare who finds the play As You Like It, on the OER Commons website.

In order for this resource to truly be an openly-licensed material, the entity that is hosting this resource would grant the teacher the rights to use and adapt all or part of the play. You will notice that the license allows you to remix and share the resource so it qualifies as an OER.

Repository & Review Service

Thanks to the Texas Legislature, school districts will have more options with free Open Education Resources such as:

  • Establishment of an OER repository that educators can use to share created materials. Teachers, districts and the State can contribute to the repository.
  • Creation of an instructional materials review service that will compare materials based on price, technical requirements, TEKS alignment, and editorial reviews.

What Does It Look Like in Schools?

Texas Spotlight: El Paso ISD

El Paso ISD is a #GoOpen Launch district. They have partnered with CK-12 to develop Flexbooks. El Paso has created quite a collection of Flexbooks in all four core subject areas.

At the launch of their CK-12 partnership, Tim Holt (@timholt2007), Executive Director of Blended Learning, said, “Instead of us matching our curriculum to a pre-made textbook, we’ve done it the other way. We’ve made the textbook to match our curriculum.”

Where Can I Find OER Curriculum Examples?

As an example, Pearson has a sixth grade math course available which a district could use as is or adapt to meet the district’s specific learning goals. This course could easily be inserted into a district learning management system and be reworked and adjusted to meet the district’s curriculum design.

How Do I Get Started? An OER Roadmap

  1. Needs assessment
  2. Consider these important points:
    • Stakeholders and Steering committee
    • Planning and Implementation Timeline
    • Scope of OER Project
    • Website and online support
    • Online resources
    • Timeline
  3. Defining Success
  4. How to Assess Success

OER & Creative Commons Licensing

Ready to Remix?

Did you know that Creative Commons Copyright licenses allow you to remix content available on the Web? It all depends on the type of Creative Commons license the creator has established.

OER licensed content must be free for any individual to use, licensed for unlimited distribution, and allow for adaptation, translation, remixing, and improvement.

Find a rich variety of images, audio, and video licensed as Creative Commons. You can also find content via Google Image Search as well as use Chrome extensions, Image Google Search.

Why Use CC for OER?

A few reasons:

  • Makes content more accessible, adding to the 800 million CC-licensed works
  • Save money, less expensive since CC works avoid copyright fees, administrative costs, and makes it easy to share education resources online
  • Empowers educators to reuse, remix, and adapt resources since permission has been granted
  • Enhances equity for all users who have access
  • Digital multimedia sharing made easy
  • Legal because copyright violations are lessened, expectations for reuse are clear

Strategy: Create OER Materials with Students

Use OER resources and/or create your own OER with colleagues and/or students.

Activity - Implementing the Strategy


In this activity, you will have the opportunity to create your own OER resource, drawing upon the wisdom of the room.

Top three favorite ebook creation tools:

  • Google Docs ePub export – This tool provides for an easy way to create ePub-formatted ebooks. You can also export to Word, ODF, or PDF.
  • Book Creator – It allows you to create a simple ePub without media or an enhanced ePub with video, audio, and more embedded. You cannot yet import Google Docs ePubs into Book Creator.
  • OneNote - Microsoft OneNote makes digital textbook creation easy. Students can work together on a single OneNote notebook that is organized into “notebook, section groups, sections, and pages.”


    1. Create an ePub or PDF document using your tool of choice. Follow this outline.
    2. When complete, submit it online. Add "OER: [Your Title]" to the title with a short description.
    3. View others contributions

Reflection: Implementation Barriers

Take a moment to reflect on your experiences with your group then share out to the large group

Research & Resources

A variety of resources cite research describing the learning strategy.

OER Tools

Other Curated Resources

A scholar is committed to building on knowledge that others have gathered, correcting it, confirming it, enlarging it.

– Parker J. Palmer