How to Use Open Resources in the Classroom

how to use open resources

With the cost of education higher than ever before, educators are turning to affordable, accessible educational content options. The wealth of open resources available online means educators have countless options for their classes, but actually finding and implementing this material in the class can be a daunting task for many.

Boundless CEO Ariel Diaz recently co-hosted a webinar with Dr. Tracey Wyatt, Dean of Assessment and Assistant to the President for Institutional Effectiveness at York College, on how to use open resources in the classroom. Catch highlights from their webinar below, and view their slides to learn more.

The Benefits of Open Resources

Open educational resources, also known as OER, provide vast, high-quality content that can be molded and utilized across many different platforms. These resources are used across the educational landscape for teaching, learning, and assessment.

Educators and students alike are turning to open resources because they are often available for free or low cost — thus providing an alternative to other more expensive educational materials. OER make it simpler to share information with each other quickly and easily because students and educators can build off existing content, add to ideas, create curriculums, and more. The future of open is exciting! However, the process of actually implementing these resources into the classroom isn’t as simple as it appears.

Challenges to Using Open Resources

If open resources have great affordability and accessibility perks, why aren’t more educators adopting them? Despite their great features, open resources aren’t yet the norm. Print textbooks have been so central to education for hundreds of years, and making the shift to digital alternatives may be daunting for some educators.

For those motivated by the switch, OER can be difficult to navigate and apply to the classroom. These resources are often scattered across the web, but fortunately new tools are being created to help educators bridge this gap.

Making OER Adoption Easy

Boundless uses the best open resources online to create affordable and accessible educational content that reaches more than 3 million students and educators. To help educators with the transition to digital, open content, Boundless Teaching allows educators to assign open textbooks customized to their classes and even download free PowerPoint presentations for their lectures. Some educators at York College are using Boundless in their classes as digital content options.

How York College Is Going Open and Digital

York College is a small, private college in rural Nebraska where most of its 500 students come from rural areas with middle-class income. Tracey Wyatt, the Academic Dean at York, says the school is making a campus-wide push for digital, open, affordable resources to better serve its student population.

The college is highly attuned the factors contributing to a paradigm shift happening in higher education. Student debt is higher than ever — over $1 trillion on the national level. And now, 7 in 10 students skip buying textbooks due to cost, materials that are intrinsically tied to class success. York knows that to best serve its student population, open resources are a great option to be cost efficient, cost effective, and cost-sensitive. To ensure open’s success, York makes sure the OER used is central to the class. For example, some educators tie a quiz to each assigned reading to ensure their students will access the open resources as part of their studies.

For more information on how you can use open resources in the classroom, see Ariel and Tracey’s presentation.

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