Oregon Tech is pleased to announce its ongoing commitment to support the success of students and faculty by actively engaging in creating open educational resources (OER). The Oregon Tech Library encourages and helps facilitate the development of OER materials, which benefit students financially and contribute to the broader academic community by promoting open access to educational resources.

OER materials have been gaining recognition for their ability to significantly reduce the financial burden on students by offering high-quality, freely accessible learning materials. Oregon Tech librarians, who are experts in copyright and intellectual property, ensure the materials produced through OER remain free for users through Creative Commons publishing licenses, preventing them from being sold for profit by publishers.

The Oregon Tech Library collaborates with faculty members to produce OER course materials, offering faculty guidance on grant research and applications. A recent accomplishment is the publication of an OER textbook by the Oregon Tech/Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) faculty. The Oregon EMS Psychomotor Skills Lab Manual is free to students and outside agencies to support their coursework and certification goals.

The Oregon Tech EMS manual is actively being promoted through Open Oregon Educational Resources and presentations by EMS faculty at conferences, and is being shared within Oregon’s EMS educator community. The aim is to ensure that the benefits of this initiative extend beyond Oregon Tech, making high-quality educational resources accessible to a wider audience.

The Oregon Tech/OHSU Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program also produced OER materials this year. MLS faculty Caroline Doty and Dawn Taylor have produced two pictorial guides illustrating the elements of blood and urine.

The publications are called Clinical Hematology Atlas: A Pictorial Guide for the Hematology Laboratory (Taylor and Doty)Clinical Hematology Atlas: A Pictorial Guide for the Hematology Laboratory (Taylor and Doty) and Urinalysis Atlas: A Pictorial Guide to Formed Elements in Urine (Doty and Taylor).

This type of publication is often called a “cell atlas,” and access to quality atlases is a vital tool in the student’s learning process. Because the cost of printing pictures is so great, the price of printed atlases is high, the number of images included is limited, and many excellent atlases are now out of print. This project seeks to eliminate those challenges for students by giving them access to OER atlases. To create the atlases, the faculty members secured an Oregon Tech Excellence in Teaching Innovation grant to compensate the students for taking the pictures used in the atlas. The OER platform will allow for continual updating as new images and information become available.

The Oregon Tech Library remains dedicated to empowering faculty and students to succeed by championing the creation and dissemination of OER materials to the regional academic community.  

“Oregon Tech librarians have the expertise to support textbook affordability initiatives like OER and have long been engaged in this work,” said Interim University Librarian Kristin Whitman. “Equipping our faculty with the tools and skills to create openly licensed resources is one way we help to make education more equitable and affordable for our students.”

More information about the OER efforts at Oregon Tech is available at https://oit.libguides.com/oer.