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OER - Open Educational Resources

Research, explore, and learn how to use OER materials for instruction and learning.

Adapt vs. Adopt

man holding open book with light bulb inside

After selecting an open textbook or other open content for your course, there are two ways you can use this resource:


The process of adding, removing, modifying, and otherwise remixing and customizing existing work.

Open textbooks may be adapted when available under open licensing such as Creative Commons, which permits others to reuse, share, copy, retain and modify works without need for consultation with the original author. Depending on the license type, attribution and other usage specifications may be required. 


The process of implementing and using OER in a course or class.

OER may be adopted after adaption (modification) or used as is. How the content is implemented depends on the type of resource and individual faculty preference and teaching style.

You may choose to adapt, adopt, or both when using OER. The section below provides information for the most complex type of OER to adapt: open textbooks.

How to Adapt Open Textbooks

Cover for "Modifying an Open Textbook"

"Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know" by Open Textbook Network is recommended for faculty interested in learning how to customize and adapt an open textbook for use in a course. 

"This is a five-step guide for faculty, and those who support faculty, who want to modify an open textbook. Step-by-step instructions for importing and editing common open textbook file and platform types are included."
Publisher description

The five outlined steps include:

  • Step 1: Check License
  • Step 2: Identify Format
  • Step 3: Assess Editability
  • Step 4: Determine Access
  • Step 5: Publish Textbook

Instructions for editing five common format types of OER are also provided:

  • PDF
  • HTML
  • Pressbooks
  • OpenStax

Download this book to begin the process of modifying OER for implementation in your course!