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Using Open Educational Resources in the Classroom

One professor explains why they use OERs and how they are beneficial for students

Wendy Keenleyside is the first major adopter of Open Educational Resources (OERs) at U of G. As a course instructor and coordinator for the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Keenleyside connects with students frequently. To accommodate and support studentsKeenleyside decided to implement the use of OERs in her courses.

What are OERs?

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are educational materials that are created and are available to everyone at no cost. They are a free, openly licensed alternative to traditional teaching and learning materials. OERs are useful as they can be modified and repurposed to meet specific course objectives as well as other student needs. In addition, they help eliminate financial and accessibility barriers that conventional learning materials do not accommodate. OERs include:

  • Textbooks
  • Streaming media
  • Presentation slides
  • Test banks
  • Syllabi
  • Peer-reviewed journals and more

So, why the use of OERs? “My entire teaching career I have been trying to help students learn deep learning does not come from memorization,” said KeenleysideKeenleyside explained that by taking the financial aspect out of the equation through use of OERs, students can more readily have access to a larger pool of information. “Once these resources are available, one of the big hurdles is gone,” said Keenleyside

Keenleyside also understands and appreciates the effort it takes to create an open textbook. “It takes a team if you’re going to adapt an existing book, or at least some resources to help you learn how to do all of this yourself,” said Keenleyside, I’ve been really lucky to have support from the library.” Keenleyside was able to get a teaching release over the summer months to work on her OER textbook and had a team working on this project with her as a testcase. 

If you’re interested in inquiring about, or moving forward to develop OERs of your own, please contact the Library's OER Librarian, Ali Versluis, at versluis@uoguelph.ca or ext. 54214. Learn more about our efforts to support Open and Affordable Course Content

To learn about what’s happening at the library this semester, please visit our Workshops & Events