Even pre-COVID USM alumni had limited access to library resources. COVID-19 has made the problem worse. How are graduates to do research for their professional lives (aside from Google)? Open Educational Resources (OERs) offer one possible solution.
Students may not even own their textbooks for a number of reasons (rental, for example). If later they need to brush up on something, they can still refer to a quality OER. Also, training needs change, and new alums may need to learn things not covered in any of their courses. Again, a quality OER may be available.
What are OERs in the first place? The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2019) defines them as “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”
Where can we find them? The USM Libraries’ Open Educational Resources by Subject guide is a good place to start. To learn more about cross-cultural communication in the workplace, for instance, we can go to the Communication & Media Studies section (under Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences) or the Leadership & Organizational Studies section (Under Lewiston-Auburn College). We can see titles on the subject. If our topic is not there, we can search the collections.
Of course OERs are not the only information sources our graduates will need in their careers. Still, they are worth considering in certain situations. Congratulations to our 2021 graduates!!!
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. (2019). Open educational resources (OER). https://en.unesco.org/themes/building-knowledge-societies/oer
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