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Create OER

If you cannot find existing OER that is suitable for your course, or you simply have an idea for an openly licensed project, we can work with you to develop custom course materials. Starting from scratch can be a daunting task, but there are a variety of options to get started, including using existing course notes and presentations slides.

OER development services

The Libraries offer a variety of services to help you develop and publish your own OER:

  • Consultations
  • Finding existing OER to adapt and build upon
  • Creating an outline to organize your OER
  • Editorial workflow assistance
  • Working with AccessibleNU to ensure accessibility
  • Hosting your completed OER
  • Sharing your OER locally and with the public
  • Maintaining persistent access and storage

Review the OER Production Workflow for more detailed information on the process of creating an open textbook from start to finish.

Publishing tools to create OER

Typically, OER authors begin their projects using Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or another word processing system, and then we work to format, host, and create suitable outputs of your text that can shared as a website or PDF and added to Canvas.

If you'd like to explore OER authoring and publishing tools on your own, there are several free options available that don't require coding knowledge:

  • Open Author: authoring tool created by the OER Commons that allows you to use text, images, and media to create an open text. 
  • Wikibooks Writer: authoring tool to create instructional textbook-like wikis.
  • H2O from Harvard Law: designed for law faculty to create open casebooks.

Some more advanced tools require knowledge of a markup language called Markdown, and are most commonly used by instructors within the sciences and social sciences, as they allow for more complex integration of visualizations and equations:

  • Bookdown: use this open-source R package to create books and reports with R Markdown. 
  • Jupyter Notebook: an open-source web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text.

OER Faculty Grant Program

If you teach an undergraduate course, consider applying for the Affordable Instructional Resources OER grant. Funded by the Office of the Provost and the Libraries, this annual grant program gives $5,000, individualized support, and technical assistance to faculty who replace their commercial textbooks with newly developed or adapted OER. 

Visit AIR's OER Grant Recipients page to see examples of OER created through the grant program by Northwestern instructors.

OER published at Northwestern

To see examples of OER created by Northwestern faculty, or to connect with instructors with OER experience, visit the OER at Northwestern page.