DOKK Library

CSU-Pueblo OER One-Pager for Convocation Week Exhibit Hall, Fall 2019

Authors Jonathan A. Poritz

License CC-BY-4.0

                                                          WHAT are OER?
 The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ( says:
“OER are 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.”
 OER include textbooks. But also software, videos, test banks, etc. They are                           free, in that their cost is $0.
 They are also open to re-purposing by others, in that they may be modified,                           customized, excerpted,
 mixed with other works, etc.
                                                           WHY use OER?
 Reason 1: Student Economic Issues. Some graphs:
      Funding Sources For Colorado Higher Ed1                                        Total Student Debt in the U.S.2

 Increase of Textbook Costs and CPI Since 19803                      Relative Costs of Education-related Items, 2006-16

                                                                                                         January 2006 = 100
                                                                                                         Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics3

 This has real consequences for CSU-Pueblo              • 45% were food insecure at some time in the past month
 students, of whom4:                                    • 53% were housing insecure at some time in the past year
                                                        • 17% were homeless at some time in the previous year
 Moral: Students today are under enormous economic pressures and a major contributor is textbook cost.
        The best textbook in the world is worthless to students who cannot afford to buy it.
 Reason 2: More Academic Freedom. The freedom to customize, modify, excerpt, remix, and re-
 purpose OER gives faculty enormous control of their pedagogy. Only an instructor using an OER may
     • reorder sections of their text as they desire,          • only change the course resources and syllabus when
     • remove pesky typos, examples that confuse more            and how they want, not at the whim of a publisher
       than illuminate, distracting side panels, etc.,           releasing a new edition of some textbook,
     • add that perfect example/diagram/story which be-        • share back to the global scholarly commons any
       fore they were only able to share out loud in person,     changes and improvements they may have made to
     • change homework assignments in the text because           an OER, building their academic reputation,
       the solutions are in wide circulation or they have      • involve students in the creation and/or curation of
       thought of more interesting ones,                         the resources used in class, and
     • combine large sections of several different works in a  • adapt course materials to a particular place, culture,
       way that fair use might not allow,                        language, or historical moment.
 None of the above are possible with traditional textbooks/educational resources under all-rights-reserved copyrights!
 Moral: Instructors have real academic freedom in the classroom only when using OER.

                    “OER One-Pager for CSU-Pueblo,” Jonathan Poritz,], 22 Aug 2019 09:13MDT
                    Released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,
   1Source:   State Higher Education Executive Officers Association,
   2Source:   U.S. Federal Reserve,
   3Source:   U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
   4Source:   report for CSU-Pueblo by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice ( at Temple University
                                                WHERE can you find OER?
There is a robust ecosystem of OER for a wide range of disciplines and pedagogical uses, but it is harder to find de-
sired OER than it is to take a call from a publisher’s rep in the highly concentrated commercial textbook industry. Look in
              • The Open Textbook Library, a curated list of around 650 high
    large       quality texts, many with detailed peer reviews
repositories: • OpenStax, a collection of texts that are so beautiful and similar to the kinds
                of things commercial publishers offer (except they’re OER!) that they’re used on hundreds of campuses
search        • MERLOT ( and OER Commons (
 sites:       • The search consolidator OASIS (
               • Many high quality resources are in small repositories, in discipline-specific collections, and even on
                 personal pages. You can ask for a particular resource on several OER listservs.
               • It pays to ask your librarians: they have amazing search super-powers.

                         WHO is involved in OER work, at CSU-Pueblo and elsewhere?
At CSU-Pueblo, activities supporting OER are jointly run by the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Library,
and are overseen by the PueblOER Committee: Rhonda Gonzales, Margie Massey, Adam Pocius, Jonathan Poritz,
Leticia Steffen, and Alexis Wolstein. Our website (under construction) is
Our campus OER efforts are a part of the Board of Governors’ funding of Vision 2028. We will thus be able to support
your OER work in a variety of ways – no project is too large or too small, seek help at the CTL and Library!
The Colorado Department of Higher Education sponsors OER-related activities including a grant program, an annual
OER conference, regular webinars on topics of interest to the open education community, a program to train and support
Open Ambassadors [JP and AW are our current campus ambassadors], etc.. CDHE OER work is overseen by a state
OER Council [on which JP serves]. For more info, see .
A variety of regional, national, and international organizations are active in OER. If you want to take advantage of, or
contribute to, their work, the PueblOER committee can help you

                                    HOW can you adopt, adapt, and create OER?

The “re-purposing by other” aspect of OER, described by David Wiley5 as the 5Rs – the abilities to Retain, Reuse,
Revise, Remix, and Redistribute – are guaranteed Creative Commons Licenses6 (one is at the bottom of the
other page of this document). OER users should look for such statements and apply them to their own works.
OER are often used as ebooks (zero distribution cost!), but can also be purchased in physical form (e.g., OpenStax books
and various OER from print-on-demand services) at minimal cost.
CSU-Pueblo has used state grant funds to purchase a hosted instance of the publishing platform PressBooks; see (under construction). It is fairly straightforward to copy existing PB OER (there are
many – PB is very widely used in the OER world) to our PB instance, where they can be preserved unchanged or easily
adapted to a particular instructor’s purposes.
OER software includes physics simulations, programming environments, statistics software, and on-line homework sys-
tems. Some of these are hosted elsewhere and are nevertheless free to use. Others might need to be hosted here at
CSU-Pueblo, for which the PueblOER committee members could provide support.

                       WHEN will OER-related activities be happening at CSU-Pueblo?
In the first week or so of the semester, there will be an announcement of an application process for mini-grants to support
the work of adopting, adapting, or creating OER. Please consider applying: we have state grant money to use for this!
Another round of state OER grants – drawn from a $1million allocation for this purpose (which is twice the amount of
last year) – will be disbursed this coming year. If you have OER work which could use support [even large projects!],
speak to the PueblOER team and we can make a specific request for you. This application is due 1 November 2019.
The CDHE will be running another Open Ambassador training on 18 October 2019 at Front Range Community
College in Ft Collins. If you are interested in this, speak to the PueblOER committee.
We will also be having roughly monthly seminars/workshops on all things OER to which the entire campus community
is invited: keep an eye out for announcements in the email digest.

Let’s make CSU-Pueblo a DOER [Default OER] campus, where unless there is a very good reason,
classes will default to using OER for the price, the quality, and the academic freedom.

   55Rs of Open,
   6for much more information, see Creative Commons Cheat Sheet for University Faculty,