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Research Guides

Low- or No-Cost Learning Materials: A Guide for Faculty: Research Help

Low- and No-Cost Learning Materials: A Guide for Faculty

This guide is to help you gain a better understanding of the available options for low- and no-cost learning materials for your students.

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Open Education Resources are learning materials that are created and licensed to be freely available to learners. OERs may take to form of teaching materials, like slideshow, lesson plans, or assignment worksheet. They may also take the form of entire textbooks, complete with quiz banks and other supplemental learning objects. OERs typically have some form of Creative Commons license,  making them free to access, use, and even adapt. This allows for flexibility in how you use them. Almost all OERs are customizable. Because they are freely accessible online, students can use them for no cost. Some small cost may apply if the resource is printed and bound, and some OER textbooks are available for purchase at a much lower cost than traditional textbooks.

While many OERs already exist, you can also make your own. There are three main ways to do this:

  1. Revise an existing OER to suit your needs. This can include editing content to be more relevant to your students, or rearranging content to better suite your teaching style.
  2. Remix parts from multiple OERs to create something new. This approach may take a bit more time, but the end result is a textbook or other learning object that fits your needs.
  3. Create your own OER, or collaborate with others to divide up the work. Then, share it with the world. 


Library Resources

The library has millions of potential resources to use in your classes. We have over 100 databases, collectively housing millions of articles and other sources. We eBooks that students can access anywhere. We have print books that you can put on reserve for your students to use in the library. We even have the T-Bird Textbooks Collection for use in the library (check our list to see if your textbook is available). Below are some suggestions for using our resources in your teaching.

  • Assign an article from a database as a reading. You can add a direct link. or "permalink," in Canvas. You can also provide the citation and ask students to look it up on the library website (they learn more that way).
  • Select an eBook from our collect to use as a textbook or assign a few chapters. Some eBooks have a limited user license, so ask your Liaison Librarian to check before you assign a book.
  • Check the T-Bird Textbooks Collection for your textbook. Students can check these out for two hours at a time to use in the library. If we don't have your textbook, feel free to reach out to Chris Younkin ( to see if we can add it. 
  • Bring a book of your own, or choose one from our collection to add to our Course Reserves

Other Online Options

The Web has a seemingly endless amount of information sources freely available that you might use in your classes. Of course, some caution is warranted, and there's no guarantee a resource will be available forever. Still, there is a lot of good stuff out there. Again, your your Liaison Librarian can help. Here are a few suggestions on how you might use resources from the Web:

Librarian for Chemistry

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Chris Younkin
Sherratt Library 303C
(435) 865-8054

ACS Style Guide

This link will take you to the official ACS Style Guide with explanations and examples of how to cite sources in an ACS publication

  ACS Style Guide