Skip to Main Content

Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)

By offering classes that use no-cost textbooks, these professors are saving their students precious money.

Academic Year 2023 - present

Jay Ratliff

Seth A. Taft

Matthew Talbert (2023)

Marshall Johnson 

More information coming soon!


Academic Year 2022 - present

Cynthia Breneman

Heather Harvey (2022-2023)

Suzanne Lindley

More information coming soon!

Academic Year 2021-present


Dr. Randy Nichols, Associate Professor of Communication Studies

Why did you choose an open education resource(s)?

There are several reasons why I use open resources, including:

  1. Cost and value - We would need parts of several traditional textbooks to cover the broad spectrum of topics in a survey course like Digital Communication. OER gives the ability to pull from various sources without the incredible expense.
  2. Flexibility - Traditional publications take too long to get to paper form for some areas, such as social media. There is a 2016 book in the library titled Mobile Technologies and the Writing Classroom. The chapter on Digital Aggregation and Curation made sense when I wrote it, but by the time it made it into print, many of the applications were no longer applicable. Open Resources give the ability to switch to updated materials more easily.

How did (do) OER help your students?

Students can read on screen or print the materials in sections relating to the unit in focus. It removes barriers so that students don't have any

"down time" without a textbook due to the cost or shipping delays or not knowing where and how to get the materials. It also helps students "meta-learn" about Creative Commons licenses, copyright, and intellectual property considerations.


Dr. Noel Ridsdale, Assistant Professor of Management and Program Coordinator of Management. Dr. Ridsdale adopted and open textbook for his Organizational Behavior class and was a successful participant of the Faculty Stipend SCALE Grant Stipend program last year (AY20-21).




Dr. Tamara McGovern (2021-2023), Associate Professor of Biology

Why did you choose an open education resource(s)?

I chose an OER book partly out of frustration with the texts we had been using - expensive, changed every 2 years (often with mainly superficial changes). But my decision was also partly because of the constant excuse of students not having it (yet) and also the short lived policy of a flat fee per hour for textbooks (which would have added up to a LOT for our series of classes that used the same book for successive courses (even for science books they would have been over-charged compared to buying the book outright). I like OER resources because I can treat the text as an additional resource, but not a limitation on what I include (or don't include) in my lectures.

How did (do) OER help your students?

I think the OER books are as much a resource as the non-free books, but the students have immediate and cost-free access to them. Some students are not going to read no matter how free the book, but for those that really couldn't afford the book or those that really did have shipping delays, they can get right at it.


Dr. Amber Williams

Information coming soon!


Academic Year 2020-present:


Dr. Scott Berry (2020-20223), Professor of Physics, Director of Server Services, Broadcaster

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I've integrated OER in PH 201/2, PH 301/2, and SC 130.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Quality is just as good/better, and the savings in time (getting the resources is quite quick) and money are well worth it.

How did OER help your students?
OER allows them to better use their financial resources, and by providing some pressure on for profit publishers, it helps to keep the costs of actual books down, as well.


Dr. "Jack" John Knipe (2020-2023), Assistant Professor of English and Spanish

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
Specifically, I use open educational resources for Spanish 101 and Spanish 105.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Over the years, many colleges have shifted from using language labs with fancy equipment to requiring software that students can purchase individually. Nevertheless, the cost of textbooks, access to online resources, and personal computers can add up quickly. Having come from a low-income family myself, I remember not being able to afford textbooks some semesters. I'd scramble to use peers' textbooks until I could scrounge up enough money. Furthermore, my first master's degree focused on writing curriculum. I decided I wanted to search for and create my own curriculum for as many classes as I could. So, using open educational resources for my class was a choice embedded in personal experience and my own educational background.

How did OER help your students?
First, it took away the financial burden of having to purchase a textbook or software. Second, the free online texts and resources have allowed the students to connect with materials whenever they want. The online resources I use for Spanish I, for example, offer many practice exercises that have been developed by many of the leading experts in second language acquisition and there is no paywall or required login. Finally, the phone app they use for the class is free and fun. It integrates gaming with language learning.



Mrs. Ellen Long, Lecturer, English

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I've integrated OER into my English 101 and English 102 courses.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Because I frequently revise assignments and course materials, it was difficult to find a textbook that I could use across several semesters. So, when the library adopted Shared Shelf, I thought it would be a great opportunity to collect more sample essays from students and use them to supplement the reader portion of a composition textbook. I also love developing course content and using different applications and website to engage students.

My "day" EN101 and EN102 courses use a variety of resources to replace a traditional textbook including articles from online sources, articles located using the One Search tool, videos from other institutions, and essays written by Limestone students through Shared Shelf (or just shared directly with me). I also create a lot of discussions and drafting tools for students to use that are, largely, based on my experience teaching the courses and what students ask questions about most. Considering all of this, moving towards free resources worked well and just seemed to make sense!

How did OER help your students?
I think students appreciate that there is no cost involved and that they can access all course materials in our LMS. It seems to streamline the process for them.


Dr. Shelly Meyers, School of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I've integrated OER in my Education Courses.
Benefits of OER and Lessons Learned
Identify the leaders in your field pertaining to OER creation and get plugged into that network. The Library of OERs is growing everyday, so you will want to stay current. Decide on a system for analyzing the OER. You don't want to get caught in a trap of using resources that are irrelevant or low quality. * Create a consistent location where all your OERs can be access by your students. They will appreciate the efficiency.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
When I began teaching Multimedia in the Classroom, we had a textbook, but it was always outdated (even with the newest editions). I decided to try OER (mostly websites) and it worked very well.

How did OER help your students?
Students found both affordability and the ease of access.

If you are experiencing problems with our guides and databases, please contact ProfessorJanet S. Ward,, Assistant Director of the Library and Web Services Librarian.