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Open Educational Resources

Check out our initiatives to learn more about our OER grant program, Open Textbook Review Workshops, and other opportunities.

Our Initiatives

The Hewlett Foundation defines OER as "teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."

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OER Initiatives

Open Textbook Review

Annually, we host an Open Textbook Review Workshop – a two hour session where you can discover open textbooks in your field. After the workshop, you will be asked to write a short review of an open textbook. Your review will benefit other faculty considering open textbooks. You’ll receive a $200 stipend for your participation and a written review.

For more information, email Martha Yancey at Martha.Yancey@mail.wvu.edu or check out past workshop details: 

  • Open Textbook Network Faculty Workshop, March 4, 2021
  • Open Textbook Network Faculty Workshop, March 5, 2020
  • Open Textbook Network Faculty Workshop, March 7, 2019
  • Open Textbook Network Faculty Workshop, March 8, 2018
  • Open Textbook Network Faculty Workshop, Sept 7, 2016

WVU Grant Program

West Virginia University Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) are partnering to support the use of and the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) through a grant program for instructors. The grant's aim is to encourage development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks, lower the cost of college attendance for students, and support faculty who wish to implement new pedagogical models for classroom instruction. 

The OER grant application is now closed for the 2020/2021 grant period.  Read more on our OER Grant page.

Faculty Spotlight

Amy Weislogel

Department or School

ECAS/ Geology & Geography

What inspired you to apply for the OER grant?

Our students have long been paying for materials that we have to modify to make relevant and useful in our curriculum and after a few years of continuously modifying, it became clear using materials tailored to our program curriculum would be far superior. In addition, open access materials offer one way to reduce barriers to students entering STEM fields and environmental sciences. So developing OER materials would address both of these issues simultaneously.

Which grant category did you choose and why?

I chose to create an entire lab manual so that we could fully eliminate the need for students to purchase a lab manual to complete our course.

What did your grant project entail?

I worked to create new lab activities that included learning objectives, instructions and all accessory materials, along with answer keys. I am still working to develop other instructional support materials for TAs such as a bank of aligned exam questions and powerpoint presentations.

Where there any notable student responses to using an OER in class?

The lab manual has not yet been implemented. The roll-out is planned for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Can you tell us about the impact of incorporating OER into your teaching?

Next year I hope to have more to report!

Did you share your project development with your colleagues?

Not at this time as we are all overwhelmed with COVID and not interacting as much since we are all working remotely.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering adopting, adapting, or creating OER?

Find other proponents of OER resources to support each other in generating a critical mass of materials. It helps to learn best practices, avoid duplication of effort, and generate interest in your product so that other programs/courses might adopt it as well.

Caleb Holloway

Department or School

WVUIT - Mathematics

What inspired you to apply for the OER grant?

The desire to increase accessibility to education by making college more affordable, and to have greater control over the content and materials that we as a department use in our classes.

Which grant category did you choose and why?

I applied for the Innovate grant for our MATH 126 College Algebra course. I already had a book in mind to use for this course, but there was some work to do in getting the online homework assignments ready for the fall.

What did your grant project entail?

Our previous (commercial) textbook included access to an online homework platform. I wished to have a similar platform for our open text, but the homework assignments themselves still needed to be created. My project mostly dealt with curating existing problems in the MyOpenMath platform into a departmental library, as well as creating new exercises where needed, and then constructing homework assignments in time for the fall. Then, I taught a section of MATH 126 using our open resources.

Where there any notable student responses to using an OER in class?

I was not able to survey my students on the use of OER last semester due to the burden of teaching during the height of COVID. I plan to survey all MATH 126 students this semester, though.

Can you tell us about the impact of incorporating OER into your teaching?

The open textbook ensures that all students have the required text on the first day of class. Similarly, all students are able to access the homework on the first day. (In the past I would often have students unable to purchase the homework access code until two weeks into the semester, putting them very far behind on their assignments.) I also have greater control over the assessments I give my students, and can (relatively) easily modify them throughout the semester as needed.

Did you share your project development with your colleagues?

Yes. In fact, several members of my department have been collaborating on transitioning our introductory courses to OER.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering adopting, adapting, or creating OER?

Always place the quality of materials above the cost, but at the same time realize that many OER are of comparable quality to commercial materials. Understand, too, that the ability to modify existing OER is a big advantage, but doing so is also time-consuming. (Be sure your supervisors understand this last point!)

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I greatly appreciate the support of WVU Libraries and the TLC in providing the services and funding to create and adopt OER and thereby improve access to higher education in our state.

Qazi Arka Rahman

Department or School

English

What inspired you to apply for the OER grant?

While teaching in Fall 2019, some of my students mentioned how they are struggling in college life because of the rising price of textbooks. This made me investigate the area of open access materials and it lead me to a workshop on open access materials. After the workshop, I began to think how I can create open access resources and the OER grant seemed like an excellent opportunity to be able to create resources for the benefit of students.

Which grant category did you choose and why?

I received the grant at the Innovate level. I planned to find existing OER materials and create my own assignments to make an introductory guide for a course that I am teaching.

What did your grant project entail?

Initial goals for the project were to make a reader's guide, a web archive, and write a report on my findings. Now I will possibly fuse the guide and the web archive into one.

Where there any notable student responses to using an OER in class?

Yes, there are students who gave me permission to use their contributions.

Can you tell us about the impact of incorporating OER into your teaching?

It significantly lowered the stress of my students. They also appreciated that their own contributions might be used to make resources for the benefit of others. This seemed to make them put more thoughts into their works.

Did you share your project development with your colleagues?

We shared our progress and challenges during the OER meetings.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering adopting, adapting, or creating OER?

Create a timeline for research and be prepared to adapt to the situation. Your final outcome might not be what you had planned for, but you will still be able to create something meaningful along the process.

Chris McClain

Department or School

WVUIT - Mathematics

What inspired you to apply for the OER grant?

My own field of mathematics has been at the forefront of open access for some time, including resources for both research and education. I had already begun using and developing some open resources in my teaching, but the OER grant offered an opportunity for additional drive, support, review, and validation.

Which grant category did you choose and why?

I chose the "Innovate" category. I knew that my goals would require me to create new resources and reorganize existing resources. I am ultimately interested in writing completely new textbooks that are seamlessly integrated with interactive resources, but the projects that I have in mind would likely take a few years to complete which does not satisfy the time constraints of the "Create" category.

What did your grant project entail?

I adopted free online textbooks for Calculus 1 and 2 and organized the course through the free platform MyOpenMath.com. In addition to offering an online homework system that is far superior to those offered by publishing companies, MyOpenMath facilitates the integration of textbook chapters, online videos, homework with immediate feedback, and links to any other resources I deem helpful. In class, I occasionally use Plickers.com for brief assessment, and I use the Desmos.com interactive graphs both in class and through MyOpenMath to illustrate challenging concepts for students. All of the resources have been 100 percent free to students.

Were there any notable student responses to using an OER in class?

Students have overwhelmingly preferred the MyOpenMath homework system over the expensive homework systems they have used in the past. In addition to being free, the user interface is much more easily navigable. I also received positive comments regarding the in-class Plickers exercises which suggested that the students viewed the experience as a bit of a game.

Can you tell us about the impact of incorporating OER into your teaching?

For myself, I consider the experience liberating. I feel that my approach to using OER slightly decentralizes the learning process. While the students still look to my classroom and MyOpenMath to organize their experience, both environments serve to encourage students to explore rather than rely on a single reference for everything. I also find that the use of OER meshes well with my approach to teaching which is much more dialogue-driven than it is a relaying of already printed information. For the students, I think there is a bit of a learning curve in the beginning because many of them are preconditioned to expect a streamlined authoritative process. My hope is that the experience broadens their perspective, and they realize that even the most traditional of classrooms has always been intended to be but a gateway to many other resources and opportunities for learning.

Your department adopted online materials for college algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus and are considering options for calculus. Can you tell us more about that?

My department is sensitive to the financial burdens of our students and the rapid increase in educational costs over the years. My colleagues have been open and enthusiastic about exploring additional options for students. Their first priority, of course, is to maintain high standards in their classes, and it has been understood from the beginning that we would not sacrifice quality, rigor, or integrity in pursuit of alternatives. We have also committed to choosing texts that have a print version for those students who prefer them. As we diligently weighed the pros and cons of various online textbooks, we were able to come to a consensus on our selections and how to best use them moving forward. Dr. Deborah Chun, Chair of the Mathematics Department, and Dr. Paul Steranka, Interim Dean of WVU Tech’s Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences, have been especially supportive of my own endeavors, as well as those of my colleague and fellow grant recipient Dr. Caleb Holloway. My department has a healthy attitude toward sharing and collaboration, and we are in the process of developing a bank of resources that will benefit everyone while still preserving instructor autonomy and the freedom to innovate.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering adopting, adapting, or creating OER?

It takes a lot of work and preparation to leave the confines of a hardbound cover, but it is worth it. Anyone pursing this direction, however, should certainly first explore the efforts of others. The best part about OER is the increased opportunity to build on the successes of others rather than always build something completely new from scratch.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am grateful for this grant, the opportunities it affords, and the personnel at the WVU libraries and TLC in Morgantown. I am also grateful for the support of my department here at WVU Tech in Beckley.