This section is adapted from "Considerations for Using or Creating OER" from The OER Starter Kit, by Abby K. Elder, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
If you decide to use OERs, you may simply be able to use existing resources as they are. They may need some adaptation, or you may need to start from scratch. Before you commit to using OERs, stop and think about what's involved and what you want to achieve. Do bear in mind that OERs are better developed in North America than in Europe and so there might be an extra layer of work involved in adapting North American OERs for use in an Irish setting.
You should not use OERs for the sake of using them; think about why you want to use them: Are you trying to fill an educational resource void or replace commercial resources? Do you want to create something that can be easily reused or adapted? OERs need some careful planning.
When integrating OERs into your course, you have the opportunity to critically evaluate your methods and alter them to better meet your needs. A discussion of instructional design is outwith the scope of this section, but this needs to be taken into account before you start using or creating an OER
Thinking critically about the purpose of your course and the learning outcomes you want your students to meet is one way to ensure that you provide a better learning experience for your students.
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to use OER in your course, it’s important to consider your target audience(s).
Although your OER may be used by educators around the world, you can and should create it with your local audience in mind. One of the great things about open licences is that it grants users the right to adapt your work. Because of this, educators in other countries can translate your OER into their native language or add examples relevant to their cultural context.
It is generally a good idea to look around at what content is available for your course before creating something new. There are two reasons for this:
Whether you are adapting and existing resource or creating something from scratch, you will need to think about how you will share the resource(s).
Creating an OER can be a considerable amount of work, especially if you’re starting from scratch. It’s important to consider all aspects for your project including instructional design, technology, and graphics before you jump in.
Integrating an existing OER into your curriculum doesn’t need to be a one-person job. Instructional designers and librarians can provide guidance to help you incorporate open resources into your course. Do use all resources available to you.
One of the primary benefits of OER is that they are reusable. When adopting an existing OER, you’ll want to choose one that isn’t so specific that it can’t be adapted to your needs. Similarly, if you create your own OER, making it easy to adapt will broaden its use among other instructors.