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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Explore openly published, free-to-use textbooks and course materials

Reach Out

Are you interested in finding OER for your class?

  • To replace an expensive or clunky textbook

  • To supplement other readings

  • As an option that allows you to revise or edit course materials

Interested in creating your own OER?

Just curious?


Reach out to Emily Coxe, Research & Instruction Librarian at Fleet Library.

An Overview

RISD is a member of the Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative, which champions the use of OER to replace traditional textbooks.

As an art and design college with student enrollment hovering at about 2,500, RISD as a whole uses textbooks far less than other institutions of higher education. Students at RISD regularly confront the high cost of equipment and art supplies needed for studio courses. To assist students with documented financial need, RISD provides some assistance through the Materials Fund. Second Life, a student-run store, is also a valued community resource which resells (at a remarkable discount) unused or lightly used art materials that are left behind every semester.

When it comes to conventional course materials, RISD professors assign reading across a broad spectrum of formats, utilizing course reserves, sharing articles and book chapters in PDF or printed form, and occasionally asking students to purchase books (literature or nonfiction mass-market titles rather than textbooks). A formal study by the Library of course material use at RISD is being planned.

With all that in mind, how can we best advocate for OER at RISD? Educating faculty, staff, and students about open access and openly licensed content has been a priority. Librarians have worked to advocate for open publishing when asked for scholarly communications advice. We are also pushing for halfway measures such as better use of course reserves and institutional repositories.

Our vision at RISD for the future of OER is one in which we can set an example in content creation. OER offers opportunities to innovate through new pedagogy, information design, experimental publishing, and much more. We are only beginning to explore these possibilities! If you are interested in adopting open resources for your classes, or writing them yourself, reach out to our Open Textbook Initiative librarian representative (bottom left).

Image by Flickr user opensourceway for

Image by Flickr user opensourceway for