Planning and Completing Your OER Project

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Identify the 5 main steps of the OER creation process

Each OER project is different and rarely is an OER adoption a turn-key process. While OER textbooks exist for many high-enrollment courses, the pedagogical design (or teaching style) and student population will vary.[1]


The following OER production framework, based on an instructional design framework, depicts the major steps that OER adoptions typically go through:


Screenshot of a framework for creating OER. Shows five phases: research, pre-production, design, development, and publication.
You can see the full Framework for Creating OER on Google Drawings.


Research Phase

At this step, you should ask yourself a few key questions to gauge your OER knowledge and skills before taking on a project. Have you explored OER content in your subject area? Have you been through any previous training for work with OER in the past? Contact support staff on campus to receive any training you might be lacking for working with open content.

Pre-production phase

In this phase, it is important to define your project goals and ensure you have enough support to confidently move forward with your OER project. This phase involves the curation of existing resources that may be applicable to the OER adoption and planning out the general design of the project. No new content should be adapted in this step, but a skeleton outline and other time-and-task-based project management documents should be prepared. You might put out a call for volunteers to involve collaborators in your project. Getting an OER consultation scheduled at this time is encouraged.

Design phase

This step is the last planning phase before work on the actual OER content begins. For projects adapting OER as-is, this may be the final step apart from preparing instructional documents. During this phase, project outlines and skeleton documents are fleshed out, and existing OER are fit into places where they are believed to be applicable. Any visual/graphic design work and processes that require assistance from an instructional designer are included here.

Development phase

This phase is where the most time is spent on OER projects that require building new materials. Existing OER that are being adapted or modified go through revision and review in a closed loop until they are in a place where they require only minor changes or copyedits. Checks for intellectual property are done (which CC license is on the content, and have we appropriately attributed everything?), as well as checks for accessibility (is content formatted semantically, do images include alt-text, etc)?

Content here is typically drafted in Google Docs or another rich content editor (Word, OpenOffice) and are then ported into the publishing platform (for example, the UH Pressbooks platform for text-based content).

Publication phase

The final phase involves publishing and sharing the content that has been created. This includes creating export versions, archiving editable files for instructors who might wish to edit your work (.doc, .xml, etc), and making your OER publicly available (for example, by publishing it to the UH Pressbooks catalog). The new adapted or original OER content is then disseminated to learners and shared with the open community.

  1. Attribution: "Planning & Completing your OER Project" was adapted from Scoping an OER Project by Billy Meinke, licensed CC BY 4.0.

This chapter is adapted from Planning and Completing Your OER Project in The OER Starter Kit by Abbey Elder.


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OER and Alternative Textbook Handbook Copyright © 2020 by Ariana Santiago is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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