Faculty Resource Center Teaching Tip: Open Educational Resources

In a new series featuring Teaching Tips from the Faculty Resource Center, Lynnane George, instructor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, shares about free resources for faculty members to enhance the student and classroom experience.

Hear from George below.

Teaching Tip #1: Open Educational Resources

Lynnane George is an instructor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a Teaching Fellow for the Faculty Resource Center.

By Lynnane George

You may have heard the term “Open Educational Resources.” But what is OER, and how can it benefit your students (and you)?

OER are free resources you can use to help teach your classes more effectively and at a lower cost to students.

I had been teaching a senior-level Astrodynamics (Space Orbital Mechanics) course for many years and developed a lot of my own material. I found that most textbooks in the field were either outdated or very expensive, and there was no one comprehensive textbook for the subject matter. Thus began my journey with OER in the fall of 2019, when I attended an information session sponsored by the Faculty Resource Center.

From the FRC, I learned that the Hewlett Foundation defines open educational resources as:

“…teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

In other words, OER materials are there for you to use and repurpose as needed.

Plus, UCCS has funding from the Colorado Department of Higher Education for teachers who would like to learn more about OER and how to implement it in their courses. There are three levels to the grant: Awareness and Review (at a cost of 250 dollars), Educator Adoption/Redesign (1,000 dollars) and Adaptation and Creation (2,000 dollars). More information on the grant is available on the OER website.

Student feedback that term was very positive. Students remarked that they enjoyed having easily accessible material for the course, that it was helpful to not have to purchase a textbook and that learning information through different sources helped them to understand the course material on a more fundamental level.

This is the first in a series of Teaching Tips the Faculty Resource Center Teaching Fellows will publish, beginning in fall 2021. If you have suggestions for future articles, contact Lynnane George. If you’d like guidance from a Teaching Fellow, submit a Teaching Ticket today.