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Gerald R. Sherratt Library

 

Biology: BIO-OER

Research Guide for the Biology Department

What are OER?

The costs of college textbooks continues to rise at an incredible rate (4x the rate of inflation). Textbook inflation has risen more than medical expenses, college tuition, and housing which greatly impacts student learning, retention, course completion, and time to graduation. Research shows that students take fewer courses and are forced to drop or withdraw from courses due to the high cost of textbooks. Other students report accepting poor or failing grades because they cannot afford to buy required course materials (see "Additional Readings" box below for more information). 

As a college professor, you can be part of the solution by incorporating low-cost, no-cost materials into your courses. 

Open Educational Resources (or OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that reside in the public domain or have been released with an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. OER include fully fleshed-out courses (like Canvas shells or MOOCs), supplementary course materials (like lab notebooks, word lists, quizzes, etc.), individual modules, completed textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software and coding, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. Anything that can be published can be used as an OER. 

Open in OER means the user can retain (make and own a copy), reuse (use in a wide range of ways), revise (adapt, modify, and improve), remix (combine two or more), and redistribute (share with others). These are known as the 5Rs. Note that this is different from resources where you have free access but the resource has all rights reserved (such as article, journal, and ebooks subscriptions purchased through the library).

The goal of using OER is not only saving students money by replacing expensive commercial textbooks, it is also about improving student success (increased GPAs, higher retention rates, fewer cases of DFUW) and instructional innovation.

If you are interested in any part of the process from brainstorming to creating please schedule a consultation with Rosie Liljenquist, your Scholarly Communications Librarian using the Book Now link in the contact box. I look forward to answering any questions you may have and helping you find materials that work for you and your students. 

More?

Here are a few examples of open biology textbooks. For more information on OER and where to find them please go to our research guide on OER, or contact your friendly librarian Anne Diekema

biology book cover

cell and molecular biology

concepts of biology book cover

microbiology book cover

anatomy and physiology book cover

general biology book cover

More?

Here are a few examples of biology OER. For more information on OER and where to find them please go to our research guide on OER, or contact your friendly librarian Anne Diekema