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Textbooks, Supplemental Resources, and OER

September 26, 2019


Librarians trying to encourage the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) on their campuses face several challenges, but none more so than faculty reliance on the various supplemental resources that publishers create and attach to their textbooks.  These resources could be pre-made tests, PowerPoint slides, or video content, for example.  Combined these materials create a sort of “lock in” that can make faculty reluctant to leave those textbooks.  Of course, these resources also create increased costs to students, who end up paying for them in the end.  When approaching faculty about adopting OER librarians may find themselves facing faculty reluctant to adopt resources without these supplemental resources.  Which is problematic because most OER do not offer those kinds of supplemental material.

However, this is changing somewhat.  Openstax, an OER collection from Rice University, does offer supplemental resources for their textbooks when faculty adopt them.  PowerPoint slides, test questions, and course cartridges that integrate into the Canvas LMS are available for their textbooks.  These are the kinds of items that faculty have come to rely on.   Demonstrating that they are available for some OER may hep get faculty on board for OER adoption.

If you’ve run into this problem I highly recommend you look at the instructor resources area attached to each textbook on Openstax.  You can’t see the instructor resources until you’ve been verified to be an instructor interested in using the text.  This is to prevent students from accessing the questions provided.  But you can see the types of material available.  It might be just the thing to get faculty on board to try an OER textbook in their class.

Here is a link to all the texts available from Openstax –

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