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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Learn how to find and use OER materials in teaching and learning.

History and Context

OER @ Connecticut College originated with the library and instructional technology groups. In spring 2018, Information Services formed the OER Explorers in order to research programs, funding sources, and support models at other institutions. Members of this group included representatives from Information Services (library and instructional technology), registrar’s office, financial aid, Academic Resource Center, and faculty. The committee recommended the creation of an OER grant program. Additional activities in support of OER and course materials affordability are outlined in the OER at Connecticut College page.

The OER grant program receives funding from Information Services, Dean of the Faculty, Dean of Students, and Academic Resource Center. After three rounds of grants, 15 adoption grants and two creation grants have been awarded. In total, the grant program has saved students $74,700 in textbook costs to date.

In summer 2021, with support from President Katherine Bergeron and Vice President for Information Services Lee Hisle, a group of staff and faculty joined the year-long AAC&U OER Institute (IOER). After an intensive week of meetings and workshops in July 2022, the Connecticut College team developed an Action Plan (available below) which aims to achieve a broader integration of OER and Open Pedagogy by building a culture of openness that engages multiple departments and communities across campus. The purpose is to reduce prohibitive course material costs for all students, transform course materials so that diverse voices are represented, and support the development of unique, creative courses.

Part of the action plan is to develop a faculty OER Policy that will be endorsed by faculty at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting. This page provides information to support this effort. 

Faculty OER Policy

Connecticut College faculty are committed to the College’s mission of academic excellence and equity. The rising costs of textbooks and materials has created barriers to success for some students, especially those least able to afford required textbooks. Open Educational Resources (OER) allow students to use freely available course materials available on the first day of class. OER allow faculty to customize course materials and select content that includes diverse, marginalized, or silenced voices.

All faculty are encouraged to adopt OER course materials when and if faculty finds OER of appropriate quality and rigor with acceptable supplemental instructional resources. When considering an OER for a course, the OER itself and the supplemental resources associated with it must be accessible and meet Section 508 compliance. Connecticut College shall make use of OER materials in accordance with applicable copyright laws.

- Draft 10/18/2021

Contributors and Supporters

  • AAC&U Open Educational Resources Institute (IOER) Members
    • Jessica McCullough, Director Research Support & Curricular Technology
    • Ariela McCaffrey, Assistant Director Research Support
    • Lyndsay Bratton, Assistant Director for Digital Scholarship
    • Michael Reder, Director Joy Shechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning
    • Priya Kohli, Associate Professor of Statistics
    • Emily Kuder, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
  • Ariella Rotramel, Associate Professor of Gender Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies


Why a policy? 
Many faculty have made the switch to open, freely available course materials. A policy encourages more faculty to find and incorporate OER. A policy sends a strong signal to the community that faculty are committed to decreasing the total cost of a Connecticut College education whenever possible. Finally, it creates a safe environment for faculty to explore the potential of OER. Read about the many benefits of OER.  

What is this policy asking me to do?
When developing or revising a course, the policy asks you to find, evaluate, and consider open course materials when selecting course materials. If OER "of appropriate quality and rigor with acceptable supplemental instructional resources" are identified, faculty should use those materials. Finally, it requires these materials to be accessible to all students. 

What if there are no suitable OER materials for my courses?
There will NOT be suitable materials for all courses! The policy simply requests that you look for and consider available OER. The OER landscape is changing quickly; new materials are published every day. We recommend seeking OER when preparing your courses each semester. 

What about library materials? They are not OER, but free to students.
We strongly encourage the use of library materials in courses. One of our goals is to decrease costs to students; using library materials which are free to students is one important tool we can use to accomplish this.

What support is available to help me implement the policy?
The RS&CT team can help. Librarians are available to help you find both OER and library materials, instructional technologists can work with you to integrate them into your course and develop supplemental materials and activities. We offer related workshops and programming throughout the year. Finally, both the College and State of Connecticut offer grants to support all aspects of this work, from finding to creating OER.

Will I need to demonstrate that I am adhering to the policy when creating my courses?
No, it will not be necessary to prove anything about your course materials selection process to anyone. Similar to the Open Access policy passed in 2012, day-to-day administration of this policy will be the responsibility of the Director of Research Support and Curricular Technology. The Information Services Committee will be responsible for interpreting this policy, establishing guidelines for its implementation and recommending changes. The Committee will review the Policy three years after its initiation and present a report to the faculty.