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  1. Barnard, Daron (Ed.)
    Open educational resources, or OER, are teaching materials that reside in the public domain and are available under an open license. While the creation of high-quality materials and cyberinfrastructure to share these resources is important, OER are much more than static resource repositories. Vibrant OER communities function as collaboration hubs and often include librarians, instructional technologists, instructors, education researchers, funders, open-source software developers, and college administrators. Together, these individuals work as a community to respond to changes in the education landscape, support student learning impacts both in terms of cost savings and student retention, and solve issues related to broadly sharing open resources on the web. This essay provides general information about OER, describes communities developing OER for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, and presents insights about sustainability challenges. The sustainability challenges are organized according to multiple dimensions: cultural and social, economic and financial, and technological and environmental. In addition, OER provide important opportunities to address and promote social justice and open and accessible education philosophies. Knowing more about the OER landscape, sustainability challenges, and educational justice opportunities can help instructors use and contribute to this growing movement to reshape the landscape of undergraduate education.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  2. Open Educational Resources (OER) are widely used instructional materials that are freely available and promote equitable access. OER research at the undergraduate level largely focuses on measuring student experiences with using the low cost resources, and instructor awareness of resources and perceived barriers to use. Little is known about how instructors work with materials based on their unique teaching context. To explore how instructors engage with OER, we surveyed users of CourseSource , an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes lessons primarily for undergraduate biology courses. We asked questions aligned with the OER life cycle, which is a framework that includes the phases: Search , Evaluation , Adaptation , Use , and Share . The results show that OER users come from a variety of institution types and positions, generally have positions that focus more on teaching than research, and use scientific teaching practices. To determine how instructors engage throughout the OER life cycle, we examined the frequency of survey responses. Notable trends include that instructors search and evaluate OER based on alignment to course needs, quality of the materials, and ease of implementation. In addition, instructors frequently modify the published materials for their classroom context and use them in amore »variety of course environments. The results of this work can help developers design current and future OER repositories to better coincide with undergraduate instructor needs and aid content producers in creating materials that encourage implementation by their colleagues.« less