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Alternative Learning Materials at Muskingum

Information and guidelines on how to integrate open materials in your classes.

Do I have to use an electronic textbook?

Although most OER are created digitally, there are many repositories that allow for the creation of high-quality print copies of OER textbooks. If you have a print copy made, there is a cost involved, but it's much smaller than the cost of a traditional textbook. 

How do I know that the textbook is comparable to traditional textbooks?

Most repositories have a review function that allows you to see what other faculty members across the country think about the text. Many large repositories have a peer-review system in place, and some even allow you to see who has adopted the book for a course. 

What will happen when the text I'm using is out of date?

Some repositories have already issued second and third editions of popular OER texts. OpenStax, for example, allows instructors who've adopted the text to leave comments that are then integrated into the new versions, resulting in crowd-sourced corrections. 

You also have the option to update out-of-date sections yourself, or to find up-to-date sections from other OER textbooks and use only the portions you need. The good thing about OER materials is that you are free to adapt them and integrate your adaptations seamlessly into the text. 

What about supplemental material like test banks and study guides?

Many texts have supplemental material created by the community that are available for use. In some cases, entire courses are available. 

If you create your own supplemental material, you can always give back to the OER community by giving it a Creative Commons license and uploading it for use by others.

Are there copyright issues with OER materials?

In order to be considered OER, materials must be released under a Creative Commons license, which can allow for open use, remixing, tweaking, and sharing, as long as credit is given to the original author. Creative Commons also allows for licensing that indicates no changes may be made, so you'll have to check the license before making changes.