Skip to main content

Teaching with OER

Faculty play a large part in the integration of OER at Ontario Tech. This page starts off the conversation about OER and what you as faculty can to do support OER.

  • Adopting OER: An overview of the steps you can take to locate a suitable OER for your course.
  • Adapting OER: Learn about what adapting OER for the classroom entails and reasons OER could be right for you.
  • Beyond Textbooks: OER can offer powerful learning opportunities outside of simply reading a textbook.

Additional information on this website can help you navigate Creative Commons licenses, understand the myths and facts about OER, and obtain a wealth of resources.

Photo by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash. A professor writing a math equation on a chalkboard

Adopting OER


A magnifying glass. By icons8.


Search the web, find a repository, or use our list of OER sites to find a textbook that is designed for your discipline and subject.

A star. By


Review and evaluate to see if it matches your criteria and based on content, presentation, online accessibility, production options, platform compatibility, delivery options, interactivity, consistency between online and printed versions, and ancillary material.

A pen editing on paper. By


One of the benefits of open textbooks is flexibility to modify and customize them for specific course designs as much or as little as you desire. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the Creative Commons license allows for that.

The cloud icon. By


Distribute the resource to your students. There are a number of ways in which you can do this.

Attribution: Adoption by Shannon Moist from Faculty OER Toolkit by BCcampus, used under a CC BY 4.0 International license

Learn More

Adapting OER

The term “adaptation” is commonly used to describe the process of making changes to an existing work. Though we can also replace “adapt” with revise, modify, alter, customize, or other synonym that describes the act of making a change. The example below refers to adapting an open textbook but any OER (assignments, videos, lecture notes, diagrams, etc) can be adapted.

In addition to cost savings to students, one of the biggest advantages of choosing an open textbook is it gives faculty the legal right to add to, adapt, or delete the content of the textbook to fit their specific course without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. This is possible because the copyright holder has already granted permission by releasing their work using an open — or Creative Commons — license. This type of license gives users permission to use and reuse, share, copy, retain and modify the textbook without consulting the author. 

Reasons for Adapting OER

One of the benefits of using an openly licensed textbook or other educational resource is that you are free to adapt it to fit your needs. In other words, you can adjust the educational resources to fit your course curriculum, not the other way around. Reasons for adapting OER may include:

  1. Address a particular teaching style or learning style
  2. Adjust for a different grade or course level
  3. Address diversity needs
  4. Meet a cultural, regional, or national preference
  5. Make the material more accessible for people with disabilities
  6. Add material contributed by students or material suggested by students
  7. Translate the material into another language
  8. Correct errors or inaccuracies
  9. Update the book with current information
  10. Add more media or links to other resources

Attribution: Adaptation by Shannon Moist from the Faculty OER Toolkit by BCcampus, used under a CC BY 4.0 International licenseWhy Remix Open Educational Resources? by Liam Green-Hughes, used under a CC BY 4.0 International license.

Learn More

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash. A coffee mug and laptop on a table

Beyond Textbooks

OER provide a unique opportunity for instructors and students to enhance the educational experience by moving from typical assignments to fluid, collaborative learning opportunities where students contribute the the learning of others, rather than solely demonstrating their knowledge. You could use OER in the following ways:

  • Have students reuse and revise to generate, edit, and add content to the class’ textbook and encourage them that the best selections will be maintained in next year’s edition of the resource
  • Encourage students to contribute to a Wiki page about a particular topic
  • Have students remix to create supplemental teaching resources for a particular course or student group (e.g., infographics, assignments and rubrics, presentation materials for diverse audiences)
  • Provide the opportunity for students to edit each other’s work or present material to the class
  • Have senior undergraduate or graduate students provide critical reviews of currently available OERs and revise as needed, adding current research findings

Attribution: DeRosa, R. et al. (2017). A guide to making open textbooks with students. Retrieved from Licensed under CC BY 4.0 International License.

Learn More