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Let's Share OER!

In the past, educators tended to be very territorial and protective of their creations. If you wanted access, you had to pay, beg, and borrow. Not so for last the three or four years!

Wonderful material is being freely shared by individuals, groups, and institutions. Dozens of universities and colleges now offer free and open access to many if not all of their courses.

The revolution is attributed to the exploding access to OER (Open Educational Resources). That means that we can offer rich content to our students as long as we attribute the source of the content and follow simply licensing criteria. Creative-Commons open licenses vary, but they all provide access to everyone under different conditions. Keep in mind that not all free resources are open. When you add “open” to your terms of use, you “open” your content to allow others to frolic with it.

The biggest repository of OER is OER Commons. A search there will provide rich resources for anyone to use in hundreds of ways. You can also create materials from scratch and post them on OER Commons. Just follow their simple instructions.

The Adult Learning Zone in OER Commons is published by Jennifer Maddrell, Director of  Designers for Learning: Gain Experience for Good. Jennifer offers fantastic MOOCS that enroll thousands of instructor and designers who create OER for adult learners. ( A new MOOC is opening this fall, and I’ll keep you posted.)

CHALLENGE: You are being challenged here (1) to  explore the resources posted in the Adult Learning Zone or other Creative Commons sections and (2) to post a short comment with a link telling us about a favorite OE resource that you found and recommend to others. As you give, so shall you receive in abundance!

I’ll start. Go to - “Evidence and Inference: You live there?” This is a 30-minute lesson created by Patricia Petherbridge-Hernandez. It has the broadest license available: CC-By. That means that you can do anything you want with the lesson, including selling it, as long as you attribute the source. What a deal! The lesson was developed for adult students in advanced ESL/ELL classes as well as for native English speakers with low reading skills. It focuses on the formulation of inferences, and the relevant explicit details which support each inference. The initial presentation highlights the skill of making inferences in a real-world context, then transitions to the literary context. Students read selected chapters of The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, a core text in many junior high and high school curricula across the United States. The students read out loud. Then, in groups they formulate inferences based on what they have read. Using sentence strips, they summarize the inference as well as cite the textual details which support each inference.

Your turn!

(Adult Learning Zone on OER Commons:

Leecy Wise, Moderator
Reading and Writing CoP



Susan Gaer's picture

Leecy How nice of you to bring up this topic. I recently put the entire text of a book I wrote for the California Department of Education. It has listening, a teacher's guide and blackline masters that can be remixed and used free of charge. Unfortunately, It is a PDF so changes will be tough to make.You can find it at​

I hope everyone uses it. Please share it as well. I think it is a great resource for low literate ESL adults.



Leecy's picture
One hundred

Susan, thanks so much for sharing this valuable resource!

Susan, is there a way to download the whole content or do folks have to download item by item? Do you have easier instructions than those below  for those who want to view and download all content? Also, will the content save to a Google Drive if folks here haven't opened their Google Drive?

If you want to access Susan's  OERCommons link in a different browser tab so that you can go back and forth from these instructions, click here:​

To those who are new to OER Commons, be aware of the following steps that I used to Susan's work.

1. When you open the URL, click on the View Resource tab. Next, click on the "Resource Library" tab, Next to "Details" below the green-colored tabs that are listed. That will bring up all of the resources.

2. You can Preview the content or click on the icon with the pointing arrow in a square. That will copy the content into Google Drive. I found out that the sound files for Susan's text would not open in  my browsers, but I was able to download them to my computer.

BTW, Google Drive is a great tool for sharing content with others - colleagues or students. You simply drop in the files you want to share, and then share the URL for the content with others.

Let's have more offerings. Next? Leecy

Susan Gaer's picture

I don't think so. We developed it using Illustrator and we did it module by module. So I think that is the only way to do it. You can download it module by module and print it as a book. That is what we do at Santa Ana College.  Were you able to hear the audio after you downloaded? It was not made to be shared this way. We developed it many years before there was an OER. So I just tried to do it myself after I got permission from the California Department of Ed where we got the money to develop from.


Leecy's picture
One hundred

Thanks, Susan. Yes, I was able to open the audio once I downloaded the files. They opened right up in iTunes. Leecy