Open Educational Resources (OER) are digital teaching materials that can be used freely by anyone. They are published under creative commons licenses which allow uses of materials that would not be permitted with materials published under traditional copyrights. As free digital teaching resources, many schools, districts, community colleges, universities, and some states are beginning to use and adopt them instead of textbooks.
However, just because OER are digital, they are not necessarily accessible. Several OER publishers including CK-12, Flat World Knowledge, Connexions and Curriki, recognize that their formats are not accessible to all students and contribute files to Bookshare for conversion to accessible formats. To make these accessible OER easy to find, Bookshare created a Special Collection; the collection now has 110 titles for K-12 and postsecondary courses on a wide range of subjects, from band, to business, biology, calculus, chemistry, and more.
Because these titles are published under an open, creative commons license, anyone can download them for any student, regardless of membership and/or qualifications.
This summer, the first two titles from OpenStax (a big OER project by Connexions) were added to the collection:
One title, an Introduction to Open Educational Resources by Judy Baker, discusses alternatives to textbooks for college teachers.
Of course, anyone can browse the collection. Please do to see if an OER will help your students with disabilities with a particular subject area. As always, we are interested in hearing from you about your use of OER and welcome your comments.