How Do I Provide Materials to Online Learners?

When designing a course, selecting instructional materials often requires significant time and effort. To aid in the process of selecting and creating learning materials, this article focuses on the following topics:

  • Providing digital textbooks and publisher materials

  • Finding Open Educational Resources (OER)

  • Considering copyright, accessibility, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles

Digital Textbooks and Publisher Materials

When selecting materials, you’ll want to consider the cost, accessibility, and support available to both you and your students. There may be multiple fees depending on where students purchase their textbooks. Be aware that publisher content/sites/applications are not supported by our Help Desk. Regardless of the digital textbook being used, be sure to confirm and include the following details in your course for your students:

  • Minimum technology requirements

  • Available supplemental materials

  • Access steps for student and instructor

  • Link to accessibility statement

  • Link to support contacts

Textbook Resources

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials created and shared under an open license. This enables educators to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute materials, under certain parameters, freely (Wiley). As such, OER offers major potential for lowering the cost of attending college. OER includes textbooks, lessons, videos, readings, activities, test banks, and any supplemental material.

Boise State’s OER website is a great place to learn more. Here is a quick summary of the tools and resources that you will find:

Regardless of the instructional materials that are chosen for a given course, the responsibility lies with faculty to verify the licensing status and attribution information before reusing content. Here are a few key resources to reference when choosing to use other people’s works: 

How and Where to Find Materials

Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning

Accessibility and universal design for learning (UDL) principles are important design considerations to keep your course compliant and improve usability for all students. At Boise State, we describe UDL as “an approach to design that originates from the belief that the broad range of human ability is ordinary, not special. Universal design accommodates people with disabilities, older people, children, and others who are atypical, and it accommodates them in a way that is not stigmatizing and benefits all users.” BSU has several web pages and articles related to applying UDL principles when creating and finding accessible content. 

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