Adapting Course Resources

1.  If you have adopted a commercial textbook, make online content provided by textbook publisher easily available (please request access for our support staff if we are assisting you in course design) and check if an e-book option is available. Make sure students are aware of the difference (e.g., electronic copies may be less expensive but usually expire after a certain date)

2.   If the course requires use of specific software, consider using or giving students the option to use free or open-source software (for example, OpenOffice as an alternative to Microsoft Office). 

3.  Consider using OERs (Open Educational Resources) such as the Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, Open.Michigan, MERLOT, etc. either as supplement or as part of the content of the course. Other OER providers include OpenYale, Tufts, Notre Dame, etc. 

OER Example:

4.   Consider using an open e-book as an alternative to a commercial textbook (http://www.flatworldknowledge.com

5.  Consider Creative Commons licensed content ( when using photographs, sound libraries, video clips, etc. 

6.   If the course includes specific media that require securing online streaming rights:

a.   Check if the resource is already available online. Start with Sinclair Library’s Online Video Resources. Other possible legitimate sources include publisher sites (e.g., PBS free content library), subscription services, such as Netflix (1-month free trial subscription available), SnagFilms (free content with initial commercials), university YouTube channels, Creative Commons, etc.

b.  If the specific resource is not available online, check if it is available for streaming through one of the following distributors:

i.     Swank

ii.    Films for the Humanities and Sciences (Special Collections)

c.   If the specific resource is not available through a distributor who provides clear streaming right policies for educational institutions, we recommend selecting an alternative resource using the sources recommended above. Be aware that different publishers can have significantly different policies and that not all publishers grant this type of request. Consequently, it may take several weeks to secure streaming rights and that there may be a high cost associated with the request and that streaming rights are often granted as limited-time subscriptions rather than permanent purchases. If the resource supplements the core content of the course, we highly recommend updating the content of the course to use resources whose streaming rights are easy to secure at a reasonable price.

Examples of Open Educational Resources


EdX offers a variety of online courses.

Google Cultural Institute

This site contains a collection of Google projects ranging from exhibits (high definition images of master pieces) to 3D renditions of buildings and cities.

Google’s World Wonders Project

Khan Academy


A free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy (taken from the About us section of the site). Merlot provides ideas for creating effective online teaching environments. Materials can be searched based on disciplines. However, some videos give ideas that can be implemented across different content areas.


MIT Open Course Initiative

Open Yale