Open Education Info Center

Students: Student-created OERs

Many students have asked us what they can do to persuade their institution to start an OER initiative. Some have written proposals, some others have given presentations to administrators. Some others have gone further to create OERs of their own. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we received from students.

Can I create OER based on the classes I am taking?

You must talk with your professor to clear the legal issues on this. There have been cases where students’ notes were offered as OERs, but only with permission from the faculty and sometimes with permission and support from the institution.

How can I push my institution to adopt OER?

Many students have contributed to their institution’s adopting OERs. They have spoken with relevant departments such as Educational Technology or Teaching and Learning Centers. Some have sent documentations on OER to their institution’s top decision makers and regional policy makers.

How do I create or use OER?

When you choose to use open content and modify it for your use, consider the license terms. You might be required to share the contents under same license terms. You can also choose to create open content of your own. In any case, here’s a short primer on what license options you have.

How do I add a Creative Commons license to my website?

Adding a Creative Commons license to a website or blog is easy when you follow simple steps outlined in this document by Open Michigan.

How do I attribute?

We use more multimedia and online materials, and it’s important to properly credit authors by attributing the source. Here’s a brief introduction on how to attribute. Take a look at Best Practices for Attribution by Creative Commons for more detailed how-to’s.

How do I license a recording?

Recording is so common now with smartphones and other portable devices. Whether it is an interview or a lecture, make sure you understand privacy of audience, use of third party materials in the recording, and limitations in use. Check out this guideline for sharing recordings.

Where can I get hard copies of OER?

OERs are materials distributed online. If you are a faculty member looking into printing textbooks, you can either talk to your institution’s bookstore to carry print version of an open textbook, or designate an online printshop for students to individually place an order.

Most OERs are textbooks and course materials by teachers. Are there any OERs created by students?

Open education is a movement with participation from all parties. Many students have actively sought a role in creation of OERs as well. One successful case is dScribe, a collaboration between faculty and graduate students to create OER at Michigan university. You can read about dScribe here.

I would like to propose to my professor a project like this and create OERs.

Many professors are open to the idea of sharing. However, it may be difficult for them to find time to digitize course materials and clear intellectual property issues to create OERs. In that case, such a proposal will be well received. If you are interested in starting a student-created OER project, here’s a presntation that outlines all processes of dScribe.

Are there cases from other universities?

Another example of student-created OERs is from Korea University. The Portfolio Contest asked students to get permission from faculty to document the classes throughout the semester. Students took notes throughout the semester, and these were made available as OERs after the faculty reviewing the materials. This project was well received because these notes became very important resource for students who took classes the following year, and the faculty were able to offer OERs from his/her course.