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Texas Toolkit for OER Course Markings (a living guide)

1. Consider Purpose

It is important to begin the process of implementing course markings by defining the purpose of doing so. In Texas, the "why" of OER course markings is typically state legislation requiring searchable information about the availability of OER-only courses. Transparently communicating open resource use to students is a key requirement of SB810, as it empowers students to make informed course selections. Initiatives resulting from local affordability efforts may differ from those originating from state policy on OER. However, institutions or systems may choose to leverage the opportunity provided by new reporting requirements to include other cost-related information students may benefit from knowing at the point of registration, to improve resource reporting across campus, or to encourage OER growth.

2. Consider Stakeholders

OER course marking requirements can impact a wide range of stakeholder groups across campus. It is essential to consider and seek feedback from representatives of these groups in order to understand current systems and practices in place on your campus and develop the most effective processes and support mechanisms for timely and accurate OER reporting. Consider who on your campus has working knowledge of OER and broader affordability issues, whose workflows may be affected, who should be involved in developing communication strategies, who handles relevant data, and what tools support this work. Stakeholders include administration, campus stores, libraries, records offices, advisors, faculty, students, and parents. The Stakeholders tab provides additional information about working with different units from across campus.

3. Consider Options

Defining your purpose and considering stakeholder interests can provide clarity of scope and assist in developing feasible solutions that will work technically and integrate into the processes of your institution. A growing number of institutions have adopted OER course markings, providing excellent examples for stakeholders or working groups tasked with establishing policy or processes for the entire campus. Approaches adopted by these institutions include adding new search fields into online schedules of classes, incorporating OER icons into print schedules, developing stand-alone lists of OER courses, and integrating OER labels into webpages maintained by campus bookstores. Explore examples in the Examples tab.

4. Consider Barriers

Each option comes with its own set of benefits and barriers. Platform constraints are common when working with "out-of-the-box" registration systems. Customization to integrate OER labels or logos could pose financial and technological barriers. Likewise, relying on stand-alone lists or campus store integration may decrease discoverability and challenge the spirit of clear and timely communication with students, who are the intended beneficiaries of course marking efforts. Additionally, individual stakeholders and stakeholders groups may present barriers; some common areas of resistance are explored in the Stakeholders tab.

5. Share Progress

Share your progress with others as openly, publicly, and often as possible. This allows leaders at colleges and universities to get a better understanding of the landscape, identify possible solutions, and make connections with colleagues at similarly situated institutions. Upon full implementation, project leaders are encouraged to add their information to a national dataset maintained by OpenStax.