At Mason, we want to make your courses accessible to all students. One way to do that is to reduce the costs of the textbooks and other educational materials you use—and University Libraries can help. We offer support for reducing the cost of textbooks and for making library-licensed e-content available to your students. We’re also ready to help you discover, use or even develop and publish your own open educational resources.
So there are several ways to make educational resources affordable for your students:
- Choose a standard textbook, put a physical copy on reserve, then let your students know how to access it.
- Choose a textbook or articles where the library already offers free digital access. Place the item on ‘e-reserve‘ and then link to the item on your Blackboard site or include a link in your syllabus.
- Choose an existing Open Educational Resource (see Finding OERs below).
- Work with us to develop and publish an OER for your course(s). Contact Aaron McCollough at amccollo at gmu.edu to get started.
What are Open Educational Resources?
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are freely-accessible teaching, educational, and research materials that either exist in the public domain or are available to users via an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing. These resources include complete online courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, assessment tools, and software. They provide people worldwide with access to quality education and the opportunity to share, use, and reuse knowledge.
In conjunction with Deep Web Technologies, University Libraries has developed a search engine that simultaneously queries a number of open educational resource sites. In addition to well-known OER repositories like OpenStax or Merlot II, our Metafinder also searches HathiTrust, DPLA, Internet Archive and other sites where valuable open educational materials may be found.
We’re still adding search targets but today our OER Metafinder searches sixteen sites in real time, returning the top 250 or so hits from each site–in seconds! Additional matches continue to trickle in as you begin examining your results.
RFP for Open Educational Resources at Mason
The high costs of textbooks have led universities including Mason to advance OER adoption to reduce the cost of instruction for students, improve teaching and learning outcomes, and enable better opportunities for students through open access to quality educational resources.
Mason 4-VA, in collaboration with Mason Publishing in the University Libraries and the Office of Digital Learning in the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, has announced a call for proposals to encourage the use of OERs in innovative course redesign.
Competitive grants will be awarded ranging from $1000-$5000, depending on the nature of the work and the level of team collaboration. Larger amounts will be considered for projects that develop original materials. Courses targeted for the pilot include those with high enrollment numbers, are required courses for majors, count in the Mason Core, or carry high textbook costs. As part of this pilot project, Mason Publishing is assisting instructors in developing open textbooks and other open access materials.
Explore the links below for additional information on this OERs: