Using open resources in teaching

Image shows an unlocked padlock

The University Library recently signed on to a national program coordinated by the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) aimed at increasing the use of equitable resources in teaching across Australia.

As part of the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective Pilot, teaching staff from the University of Adelaide can publish their own open access textbooks on the Pressbooks platform. But before we go much further, you might be wondering what are equitable resources and why would you use or create one?

What are equitable resources?

Equitable resources, often called Open Educational Resources, are teaching materials published with an open license, allowing teaching academics to freely share them with their students. You can find a wide variety of open access materials, including textbooks, videos, images, online modules, lectures, quiz questions, software, and much more.

Many open access resources also allow you to copy and adapt their content. This means teaching academics can revise resources to better suit local context or the specific learning outcomes of their course without needing to create their own resources from scratch.

Equitable resources are published under an open access license, such as Creative Commons, in which authors waive certain rights. . There are a variety of open access licenses that resources can be published under, each with different conditions governing how the resource can be used. These conditions normally include:

  • Whether author attribution is required.
  • Whether the resource can be used for commercial purposes.
  • Whether adaptations are allowed.
  • Whether adaptations need to be published under the same license conditions as the original.

Licensing can get complicated, so it’s always good to check with the Library’s Copyright Coordinator if you’re unsure.

Why are open access resources useful?

Using equitable resources instead of traditionally published resources can be enormously beneficial for students, teaching academics, and wider society.

  • For students, open access resources make education more accessible and equitable by reducing the cost of attending university. Instead of purchasing expensive textbooks, students can engage with freely accessible learning material. What’s more, they can engage with open access resources before their courses start and long after they graduate, enabling life-long learning.
  • Open access resources give teaching academics the flexibility to adapt material to meet the specific learning outcomes of their course. Teaching academics can add, remove, and edit content to suit the needs of their students. It is much easier to update an open access resource than sourcing a new edition of a traditionally published textbook when subject matter changes or opportunities for improvement are found. Open resources also have lower (or zero) subscription costs and publishing fees than traditional resources.
  • Wider society also benefits from the availability of open resources, by democratising knowledge and making educational material more accessible for people who cannot undertake formal university study.

Where to find equitable resources

There are many places open resources can be found online, including dedicated repositories. The Library has collated a number of links to places where you can find open access resources, organised by media type and subject area. Visit the Library’s Open Educational Resources guide for more information.

CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective Pilot

The CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective Pilot was launched in January 2022 to help university libraries and academic authors learn more about creating their own equitable resources. The University of Adelaide Library has signed on to this pilot, giving a limited number of teaching academics an opportunity to publish their own open access textbook on the Pressbooks platform. If you have an idea for publishing your own open access textbook or would like to learn more about the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective Pilot, contact the Library’s Learning Support team.  Stay tuned for an opportunity to submit an expression of interest to participate in the pilot as an academic author.

Want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more about using, adapting, or creating equitable teaching resources, visit the Library’s Open Educational Resources guide. The Library’s Learning Support team are also keen to meet with teaching academics, course designers, and support staff to provide advice on how to make more use of open access educational resources.

Tagged in teaching, open, open educational resources, library bites for teaching