“Next Steps” in your OER path



Okay, I’m at the finish line …. Now What?

So, you have been through this journey from “Why Open?” all the way to creating your own OER content that you can use in your course. The next most logical question is “now what do I do?”

This module contains information based on the possible paths you can take in your adoption of OER that is specific to your institution.

Now that you’ve completed Pathways as part of your Zx23 Grant Project, there are several activities to take on next:

  • If you are a faculty member, review the courses you teach that could easily convert to OER with adoptions as soon as possible, and begin the process of creating them, with support from Lumen Learning, if needed.
  • If you are a department chair, program director or associate dean, work within your division to share information about developing Z-degrees at your college.
  • If you are a librarian, seek out as many open resources as you can, and instruct your faculty in how best to find and use them.
  • If you are an instructional designer, consider ways that the technology you support can best enhance the adoption of OER courses and materials at your college, and facilitate effective training.

Remember that there are many paths to Open…

Adopt as you go! Using the resources that you have located during this course, you can begin to supplement or replace existing course content with OER. If you need to find additional resources, use some of the locations and resources from our course.

Replace your current textbook! Depending upon your discipline you may be able to replace your current textbook with an openly licensed text, such as those published by OpenStax. If you elect to convert your course to an openly licensed textbook, please make sure to have this fact noted in SIS so that when students search for your course they can see that no textbook purchase is required. Remember, this is the adoption of an “open text” – distinctly different than just “free.” Whenever possible we want open – not just free so that students can reap the benefits of the “R” of retain!

Adopt and Adapt an “Open Course”! As you learned in this course there are entire courses based on OER that are available for adoption and adaptation. As the VCCS continues to expand the use of OER, the number of courses that are available will continue to grow! Once you identify an open course (either created by a faculty member at your college, another VCCS college or anyone else in the OER community) your next step is to grab that Excel spreadsheet (OER mapping template) and begin to review that course for alignment with the Course Outcomes from the official course outline and create your Module Level Objectives and assignments. How much adaptation the course requires will be determined by how well aligned the course is when you adopt it!

Create a NEW Course. Creating an entire new Course can be time consuming, but is an incredibly worthwhile and rewarding endeavor. Creating a new course does NOT necessarily mean creating all of the content. There are support mechanisms in place for the creation of a new Z Course that include resources both inside and outside of the colleges.


Create an OER professional development plan and timeline with your team and your college. Include librarians, instructional designers, technology administrators, OER Committee members, and anyone else who will be a part of growing the Z-degrees at your institution. Your plan should address how you will be offering Pathways training and OER workshops for your people. Contact Cheryl Huff, Zx23 Shepherdess, cheryl@lumenlearning.com, and arrange for a workshop if that would help.

Join the VCCS OER Peer Group and get on the listserve at lists.vccs.edu/lists/listinfo/vccs-oer-peer-group, if you haven’t already, and make plans to attend the meeting in the spring, as well as any activities between now and then.

Attend any OER subject webinars or events applicable to your work: edtech.vccs.edu/oer/z-x-23-project/oer-events

Keep up to date with events and activities, as well as the OER Peer Group Blog: edtech.vccs.edu

Join the Open Education Consortium: www.oeconsortium.org/news/newsletter The Community College Open Education Consortium, is a great way to stay informed is to subscribe to the bi-monthly updates on Open Education Consortium news, upcoming events, new members, and items of interest to the open education community. Periodic in-depth issues explore topics in greater detail.