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Open Educational Resources (OER) Policy

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
13.21 Vice President, Academic and Equity Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning Executive Council May 25, 2020 Jan. 30, 2023 Jan. 30, 2023 2028
  1. Purpose
    1. NSCC is committed to broadening access to higher education and to improving the opportunity for all students to achieve equitable outcomes as prescribed by the College’s Educational Equity Policy and the NS Accessibility Act. Open Educational Resources (OER) help enable equitable access to high quality, cost-efficient and inclusive learning resources.
    2. The purpose of this policy is to: 
      1. Encourage the use of Open Educational Resources in support of student success.
      2. Promote innovation in teaching and learning.
  1. Scope
    1. This policy applies to all employees and students.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Adapt an OER Modify OER content in some way. Changes can be small or large. Examples include: using selected content, remixing content from multiple sources, reordering chapters, adding Canadian or localized content, adding interactivity.
Adopt an OER Adopt an existing OER "as is" without any changes to the content.
Create an OER Develop OER material by creating original content and/or compiling with other resources.
Learning Outcomes Formal statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or demonstrate in order to receive a pass mark in a course. (from NSCC grading policy)
Open Education Open Education encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment.” (SPARC*)
Open Educational Resources (OER) “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.” (Hewlett Foundation)
Open Textbooks An important OER subset. An open textbook has an open copyright license or is in the public domain. They can be modified, printed, shared, retained, remixed, and reused with no fees or permissions.
5Rs Open Educational Resources are governed by the “5 R” principles:

Retain: An individual or an institution may make and own copies of the OER they create, but the object is still shareable under a specific open license.

Reuse: The OER content can be reused in other ways and without limitations.

Revise: The OER content can be revised, adapted, and/or modified to meet the institution’s needs.

Remix: The content of two or more OER can be revised and combined in new and creative ways.

Redistribute: New, revised, adapted, and modified OER must be shared back to the public under the open license, which in most cases will be Creative Commons.
Peer Review Academic quality assurance process where a subject matter expert(s) other than the author reviews and offers feedback on a work prior to publishing.
Creative Common (CC) License Creative Commons (CC) licenses are open copyright licenses that allow a copyright owner to retain ownership while also allowing others to use, revise, remix, and share the content without permission or fees.
  1. Policy
    1. NSCC Commitment
      Faculty are encouraged to select OERs as learning resources for assigned courses. Faculty will be supported to identify, Adopt, Adapt, and Create Open Educational Resources that meet quality standards and are responsive to their unique teaching and learning environment.
    2. Selecting OERs
      1. Different Open Educational Resources or Open Textbooks may be selected for different offerings of the same course.
      2. OER selected for inclusion in courses must:
        1. Align to program and course Learning Outcomes.
        2. Comply with the terms of the Creative Commons License assigned to the content.
        3. Be developed and used in accordance with College or School policies, procedures and guidelines.
        4. Meet requirements and/or standards of accrediting and regulatory bodies where applicable.
        5. Meet accessibility requirements as legislated in the Nova Scotia Accessibility Act (Bill 59).
        6. Be published and made accessible in the NSCC Open Textbook publishing platform and directory (in the case of Open Textbooks).
        7. Be Peer Reviewed.
        8. Adhere to the 5Rs.
  1. Policy Supports

13.22 OER Procedures
41.21
Educational Equity Policy 
74.01 Intellectual Property Policy 
71.01 Use of Copyright Materials Policy 
NS Accessibility Act

Textbook Assessment Tool
NSCC Open Educational Resources GuideNSCC Pressbooks Open Textbook Publishing Platform




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