Open Educational Resources

CETL provides support and resources to instructors who create, adapt or adopt open education resources.

What are open education resources?

BCCampus’ Open Education Self-Publishing Guide, defines open educational resources (OER): “teaching, learning, and research resources that, through permissions granted by their creator, allow others to use, distribute, keep, or make changes to them.”

OER are teaching resources that have an open-copyright licence (such as one from Creative Commons), or they are part of the public domain and have no copyright. Depending on the license used, OER can be freely accessed, used, re-mixed, improved, and shared.

In additional to open textbooks there are many types of OER available, such as:

  • online courses
  • videos
  • audio
  • presentation slides
  • syllabi
  • course outlines
  • supplementary materials, such as quizzes and assignments

What are open textbooks?

Open textbooks are a subset of open educational resources (OER) and reside in the public domain — where copyrights have been waived by the copyright holder or copyright has expired — or have been released by the copyright holder under an open-copyright licence. The B.C. Open Textbook Collection, Canada’s first major repository of these OER, is available for all to use.

Open textbooks are available digitally, accessed online or through shareable formats, to be freely used by anyone: students, instructors, librarians, and members of the public. In general, they can be modified, printed, shared, retained, remixed, and reused. If the work has been released with a Creative Commons – or other open-copyright – license, the user must adhere to that licence’s legal requirements.

Find Open Textbooks – BCcampus OpenEd Resources


Why should I use OER?

One of the driving factors for the adoption of OER, such as open textbooks, is they are free. But cost savings is not the only benefit of using OER – they are an essential part of an open pedagogy, and can be used to create a powerful learning experience for your students. Studies have revealed a "positive relationship between the use of OER and student academic achievement" [PDF] and suggest that OER may help to decrease withdrawal rates while increasing overall student grades.

OER can:

  • increase access to education
  • provide students with an opportunity to assess and plan their education choices
  • showcase an institution’s intellectual outputs, promote its profile, and attract students
  • convert students exploring options into fee-paying enrollments
  • accelerate learning by providing educational resources for just-in-time, direct, informal use by both students and self-directed learners
  • add value to knowledge production
  • reduce faculty preparation time
  • generate cost savings – (this case has been particularly substantiated for open textbooks)
  • enhance quality
  • generate innovation through collaboration

How does Camosun support OER?

Camosun instructors have developed open textbooks and toolkits  that are now in use across BC and Canada. Examples include:

Accessibility Toolkit

OER Toolkit for Trades Instructors

Pattern Development: Sheet Metal

Trades Access Common Core

Concepts of Biology 1st Canadian edition

English Literature: Victorians and Moderns

Open Education Sustainability Project

In 2020 Camosun was awarded a BC Campus Open Education Sustainability Grant, matched by the College with Innovation and Creativity grant funds. 

Eight faculty led projects were supported with a team of instructional designers, librarians, graphic designers and the copyright advisor.

Open Education Sustainability Project

Sandra Carr (Trades): Open textbook for Joinery/Woodworking
Michelle Clement (Business): Revising an open textbook for Marketing
Brian Coey (Trades): Open textbook for Sheet Metal/Welding
Pooja Gupta (Access): Open math homework and ancillary resources to support existing open textbooks
Peggy Hunter (Arts & Science): Revising/enhancing existing WordPress Biology lab site (interactive images, self-tests)
Stephanie Ingraham (Arts and Sciences): Open textbook for Physics
Liz Morch (Health and Human Services): Five nutrition modules on WordPress
Alex Purdy, Jana Suraci, Sarah Erdelyi (Health and Human Services): Open textbook on Allied Health patient management