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OER Audit Faculty Workshop

Thun Library Faculty Workshop, in partnership with Penn State Berks CLT's Innovation in Teaching Excellence Series. Counts toward the Course Design badge.

Welcome to the OER Audit Workshop!

In this workshop we will:

  • Learn the difference between open education resources (OERs), open access, and library resources
  • Analyze your course syllabi for readings / resources that are not freely available to students
  • Identify resources / readings that do not have adequate information for students to gain full-text access
  • Apply search techniques to locate & identify resources that are open access or available through library subscriptions, in order to provide ethical access to readings/materials in accordance with copyright law

Round Creative Commons license stickers in random pattern

Image adapted from "Creative Commons - cc stickers" by Kristina Alexanderson via flickr under CC BY 2.0


OER at Penn State Berks & PSU

Best Practices for Open and Affordable Course Content

  • Link or embed, rather than uploading a local copy. Look for permalink (aka stable or persistent link) and embed code generators in University Libraries databases. Electronic course reserves (e-reserves) can provide access to digitized print materials and other e-content.
  • Attribute. Provide a citation or copyright statement for course content.
  • Refresh. OERs require maintenance and updating. Fair Use / TEACH Act protect the nright to use licensed (copyright-protected) content under limited purposes and for a limited time; seek permission if your use exceeds these provisions.
  • Proxy your library links. Review permalinks (stable URLs) generated from library databases for the following: ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu (or variations). If you do not see this in the URL, it might not be proxied, and off-campus students might not be able to access it! You can proxy a link by adding the following prefix: https://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=[https://...] This will ensure students are passed through Webaccess in order to access subscription resources. Always test your links!

Finding Open and Affordable Course Content

Known-item Searching

Tip! Searching a title in "quotation marks" will narrow your results to exact hits in most environments.


Exploratory Searching

Discover new open and affordable materials to update your course content.

Tip! Many OER repositories provide discipline-based search limits and filtered browsing.

OER Repositories

Open and Affordable Educational Resources Terminology

open educational resource (OER) - "a teaching, learning, or research resource that is offered freely to users in at least one form and that resides in the public domain or has been released under an open copyright license that allows for its free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with attribution."

affordable educational resource aka affordable course content - "any required course material that students purchase for less than $50. This may include low-cost or no-cost options and library materials that do not have an open license."

open access (OA) - content that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions;" typically refers to scholarly works.

gratis OA - refers to free-to-read scholarship that remains under copyright or other license protection ("free as in lunch")

green OA - refers to free-to-read, repository-based open access scholarship, typically as a result of author self-archiving.

gold OA - refers to free-to-read open access scholarship that is subsidized by per-publication fees or other means.

libre OA - refers to free-to-read scholarship that is also public domain or licensed for reuse for purposes that exceed Fair Use ("free as in liberty")

Open access comparison chart by SPARC.

How open is it? open access terminology guide by SPARC, PLoS, and OASPA (CC BY).