OER Toolkit – Collaborating

Why Collaborate on OER?

Research as shown that when educators collaborate in OER, the quality of instructional materials improves, educators learns from each other and OER is more sustainable  when it can be updated, remixed and shared.

Teachers, Content Area Specialists and ESU Coordinators

  • Knowledge of course objectives
  • Understanding of student needs and learning styles
  • Expertise in evaluating resources for use and application in a course
  • Experience in constructing and authoring instructional materials
  • Expertise in various pedagogical approaches and curriculum implementation


Librarians and ESU Coordinators

  • Expertise in accessibility
  • Understanding of copyright and its pitfalls, and of how to select and apply open licenses
  • Knowledge of how to find things and to make things discoverable by others
  • Understanding of the best way to share resources for future audiences
  • Expertise in technology for online authoring and publishing
  • Overall information literacy expertise
  • Experience with the content of coursework

Here is an example of OER development, the OER work flow diagram for Nebraska’s OER Commons Hub. An individual creates an account on OER Commons and joins the a group in the Nebraska OER hub. In OER Commons, groups are collaborative work spaces for creating, curating, and discussing OER. Groups are also community spaces designed to encourage community participation and engagement. Contact your local Educational Service Unit (ESU) for more information about joining or creating a group in Nebraska’s OER Hub.

Inside groups, users can:

  • Submit – Recommend a new resource from the web
  • Create OER – Create or remix OER aligned to Nebraska content area standards using Open Author
  • Curate Resources – Identify quality resources, perhaps by standards or evaluations, and organize them into folders for your community.
  • Build Community – Discuss OER and open educational practice through group discussion.
An example of an OER development process

Quality of Instructional Materials  Sapire and Reed’s (2001) study showed that faculty collaboration on the redesign of open course materials improved the quality of instructional materials–specifically in terms of the materials’ ability to scaffold student learning across knowledge domains and to offer enhanced, inquiry-based learning experiences.


Faculty Learning  Petrides et al. (2011) found that collaboration with peers around the integration of an open textbook into a statistics course led faculty participants to increase their collaborative practices in subsequent course planning efforts.


Sustainability Petrides et al. (2008) found that when faculty collaborated in the creation of OER, they were more likely to continue creating and sharing content online on a consistent and ongoing basis–suggesting that communities and collaboration play a role in sustaining OER.


Research Cited:

Petrides, L., Jimes, C., Middleton-Detzner, C., Walling, J. and Weiss, S. (2011). Open textbook adoption and use: Implications for teachers and learners. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, Vol. 26, Issue 1: 39.

Petrides, L., Nguyen, L., Jimes, C., and Karaglani, A. (2008). Open educational resources: Inquiring into author use and reuse. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Education, Vol. 1, No. 1-2: 98-117.

Sapire, I. and Reed, Y. (2011). Collaborative design and use of open educational resources: A case study of a mathematics teacher education project in South Africa. Distance Learning, Vol 32, No. 2: 195-211.

Updated July 3, 2019 8:31am