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Open Education

This is a guide on how to find, create, and share Open Educational Resources (OER).

Creating Open Educational Resources

Each Open Educational Resource (OER) project is unique to your instructional needs and will require different considerations. The UBC Library is here to support you at every step of your project, whether adopting, adapting, or creating. 

Partnerships with the Library

We understand that creating an OER can seem daunting, so we want to be upfront about what support the Library provides.  We like to think about it this way:  As the resource author, you are the content expert and final decision maker.  As the librarians, we are the information and formatting experts.  

This means you can expect us to support you with the following:

  • Finding open materials
  • Reviewing copyright considerations
  • Making your content accessible 
  • Creating a consistent style guide (based on your preferences)
  • Training you in Pressbooks and solving formatting/technical problems 
  • Setting up a sharing plan for your OER
  • Informing you about general OER best practices

Before embarking on an OER, you may want to consider the following questions and resources. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list, and that not every item will apply to every project. For a deep dive on creating OER, please visit the Creating OER Toolkit.

Does this already exist?

We recommend starting every OER  project by reviewing the current material available in the subject area. This exercise can highlight existing resources that can be used as a jumping-off point for your project and identify current gaps. 

Need Help?  The library has specialists who will facilitate a subject matter search  | Book a consult

Is your resource accessible?

OER should be accessible for all students. In consults, we discuss accessibility standards including font sizes, colour choices, video subtitles, and file formats. Open UBC has an OER Accessibility Toolkit to get you started.

Need Help?  Open UBC can support your accessibility-related questions | Book a consult

Have you considered copyright?

Open doesn't just apply to the finished resource. All of the images, tables, and other content within the resource need to be open or free of copyright protection.

Need Help?  More information about copyright can be found on the Scholarly Communications website. You can also contact the Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office for more help.

Can this resource be adapted by other people?

Open is more than just having your resource available for others to use. It is also allowing for others to adapt your work to fit their needs. Making your resources available in multiple file formats can help make your work more reusable.

Need Help?  Check out David Wiley's ALMS framework to help guide you through this issue | Book a consult

Are you using student work?

There are several issues to consider when using student work as a part of your resource. Open UBC provides some insight into best practices for publishing student work.

Need Help?  For questions about student work or open pedagogy | Book a consult

The idea of creating an entire open resource can be overwhelming. However, open materials are often created with licenses that allow for adaption and modification which can be a starting place to developing your own unique resource. 

Adapting pre-existing OER might be a good option for you if you would like to: 

  • represent a broader range of backgrounds and experiences 
  • update old data and examples
  • take general information and customize it for a particular context
  • make the material more accessible 

Need Help?  The Adapting an Open Textbook Toolkit can get you started | Book a consult

Sharing Your Existing Resources 

Adding a Creative Commons License

If you've developed teaching resources such as slides, documents, videos, assignments, or lab manuals, you might consider adding a  Creative Commons license. While the specific steps required will be different for every project, adding an open license can be a meaningful way to contribute to Open while engaging with OER in your subject area.

Need Help?  Book a consult with us and tell us about your project.

You may find that existing OER doesn't quite fit your needs and creating a completely new resource is the best option.  Contacting the Library at the beginning of this process will help get your project started off on the right foot. 

If you need some inspiration, have a glance through these resources to find out what other people have created

Need Help?  Book a consult with us and tell us about your project.

UBC has developed many OER development toolkits. These toolkits are comprehensive resources to guide you through the adaption and creation of OER.  Need Help?  Book a consult  


Open Textbooks

UBC supports the creation of Open textbooks using the BCcampus Pressbooks tool. Using Pressbooks, you can create your own online textbook with options for downloading online and printable PDF versions so that students can choose the textbook that best fits their needs.


Open Journals

UBC uses the Open Journal System (OJS) where you can collect articles, essays, or other content and create your own journal. Open Journal Systems are used by courses to engage OER-Enabled Pedagogy, where students are creators and publishers of knowledge.