2 Why Choose Open?

Open carries many benefits to both educators and to students. Not only do open materials reduce financial burdens and create opportunities for increased student engagement, but it also allows you the freedom and ability to be creative when teaching your students. You can experiment with different methods of scaffolded learning like:[1]

  • Integrating interactive exercises into your class to help students work through new concepts.
  • Creating tutorials on how to use any technology or tool unique to your class.
  • Using blogs and discussion posts to introduce the concept of writing for a public audience.
  • Giving students the choice between set assignment types to accommodate learners with different technical competencies.

You might choose Open if:

  • You want content that can be publicly displayed on the open web.
  • You want textbooks, assignments, and other teaching materials that you can update and modify.
  • You want content that you can freely download, distribute, and share publicly.
  • You want to assign academic articles that are not openly available (for example, most articles available through databases like JSTOR).
  • You often rely on course packs rather than a single textbook.
  • You teach materials that do not need to be, or cannot meaningfully be, modified (for example, short works of literature).

As instructors you benefit from using Open materials by gaining:

  • Assurance that every student has immediate and unlimited access to course content.
  • Choice of technology partners rather than being locked into a particular platform or system.
  • Ability to use, edit, and adapt existing materials without needing to acquire copyright permission.
  • Availability in a variety of formats (e.g., HTML, PDF, ePUB) or ability to produce the resource in alternate formats.
  • Ownership of the content forever.
  • Flexibility in when and whether to move to a new edition.[2]

Your students will also benefit in many ways by gaining:

  • Access to course content in appropriate formats for various devices and situations, including the option to download the text for when internet access is not available.
  • Ability to share the content on social networks and public forums, including blended learning environments.
  • Instant, unlimited, and permanent access to content, thereby:
    • eliminating the need to buy content multiple times or for a longer period of time in order to use the content for multiple semesters;
    • enabling use of the content as a reference for more advanced courses (e.g., using an introductory statistics book as a reference for a research methods course);
    • easing study for higher education entrance and certification exams (e.g., GRE, GMAT, MCAT, CPA); and
    • providing access to content for lifelong learning and career changes.
  • Ability to print all of the course material when convenient.

As tuition and cost of living continues to rise, reducing textbook costs can make a large impact in the lives of your students. Choosing Open is a great way to try and reduce this burden while also improving retention, active learning and engagement.

  1. some content on this page comes from CUNY Pressbooks Guide by Andrew McKinney; Rachael Nevins; and Elizabeth Arestyl is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
  2. Conenet on this page comes from Marking Open and Affordable Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies by Breeman Ainsworth; Nicole Allen; Jessica Dai; Abbey Elder; Nicole Finkbeiner; Amie Freeman; Sarah Hare; Kris Helge; Nicole Helregel; Jeanne Hoover; Jessica Kirschner; Joy Perrin; Jacquelyn Ray; Jennifer Raye; Michelle Reed; John Schoppert; and Liz Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Open at the University of Idaho Library Copyright © by Tyler Rodrigues and Marco Seiferle-Valencia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.