This is an archive of the ACE Workshop website. While all of the original content is available, some features (like forms) may no longer work and there may be broken links (indicated with a strike-through). 


The ACE 

A guide for decision-making and professional development planning during times of crisis.

OER Adoption


Use Open Educational Resources in place of commercial textbooks when it’s pedagogically appropriate. Aim for No Cost or Lo Cost (under $40) for your learning materials fee.


Techniques and Activities to help you explore this practice. 

Replace a High-Cost Textbook

If you teach a standard college course with a high-cost textbook, it is likely that OER alternatives exist. For most ubiquitous freshman- and sophomore- level courses (like Intro to Biology/ Psychology/ Sociology/ Statistics/ etc) there are well-reviewed free textbooks that you can swap out for commercial textbooks. Talk with a librarian and don’t wait to make the switch. Use free digital versions or get the books printed and bound if that’s better for you and your students! Either way, you will save students significant money.

Adapt & Curate

If you teach a course that doesn’t align to a single open textbook, you can always curate OERs from a variety of sources and collect them into a new resource for your course. In addition to chapters from open textbooks, you can find openly licensed lectures, simulations, labs, infographics, handouts, assignments, test banks, activities, interactive modules, and more! Integrate what you find and add your own teaching materials to flesh it out. Gather it all together in the LMS or in an open platform like Pressbooks.

Open Your Pedagogy

Because of the open license, open resources encourage faculty and students to do more than just absorb knowledge: they encourage us to get involved with how it is developed. Ask your students to write new educational content for their peers; ask them to create graphics, draw maps, design lesson plans, or make videos to help other learners. Let your students identify the challenging parts of the material, and create ways to make it clearer for the students who follow!

Advocate for Support

OER is free for students to use, but it is not free to create. It takes academic labor to produce high-quality learning materials. Doing this work together with students as part of your class can be one way to find time to develop the free materials you need, but you can also encourage your institution to support the development of OER with stipends and rewarding OER creation in the promotion and tenure process.

How Much Does Your Course Cost?

Analyze the costs of the learning materials in your course. Identify any places where they could be reduced by using OER. When pedagogically-appropriate OER is not available (and you have confirmed this with a librarian), look to see what other library resources could be leveraged to drive down costs, while remembering that database subscriptions are often paid out of tuition dollars and cost your students significant money out of pocket, so OER is always preferable when you can find or make it.

Become an OER Search Pro

Because OER is not centralized like commercial textbook publishing (an industry controlled by a small handful of massive companies that often run into conflict with antitrust legislation), it can be hard to know where to look to find what you need. But knowing a few key search engines, the value of LibGuides, and the major organizations that serve as hubs for open materials, you can not only find great stuff for your own courses, you can help correct your colleagues when they mistakenly say there isn’t any OER for their field!


Online reading and resources to help dive deeper into this practice. 

  • A 7-minute “Intro to Open Education” video
  • A handout prepared by Plymouth State librarian Christin Wixson about replacing a high-cost textbook with more affordable materials
  • Most college libraries have an OER guide (sometimes called a LibGuide) to help get you started. Here is Plymouth State’s, which anyone can use. If your college doesn’t have one, request that they create one!
  • A paper, “Teaching with OER during pandemics and beyond,” which aims to raise awareness of OER and provide practical suggestions for educators
  • Want to learn more about open pedagogy? Start at the Open Pedagogy Notebook!
  • Statewide partnerships can help fund OER creation, educate faculty, and drive down the costs of education. Here is a newly emerging effort from New Hampshire.
  • LuLu is a good place to get OER printed if you’re not using a book from a big OER publisher like OpenStax. If you know of other great printers, submit it below and it will be shared in the Revisit section.
  • If want to share your learning materials or if you improve OER that exists, add an open license so others can use your work! Learn more about the licenses, and choose the one that fits your purposes.

Related Slipper-Camp Resources

Check out these PSU-specific resources generated by this spring's Slipper Camp.


A larger community of teachers and learners interested in this practice. 

Discuss on Twitter

If you are active on Twitter, we encourage you to share your thought and ideas using the #ACEFramework hashtag and the #oer hashtag to talk about this practice, in particular. 

Join a Meeting

If you are interested in talking to people about the Equity value (for which OER Adoption is an ACE-informed practice), we invite you to our hosted Zoom chats. Chats are scheduled this summer on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 18 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Overview of the ACE Framework
  • Thursday, July 9 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Equity Practices

Submit Your Ideas

If you find yourself working this summer on a project or approach that uses OER Adoption, we invite you to share what you’ve found or created, via the Submit Something button below. If you choose to publicly share your submission, it will immediately become available on this page in the Revisit section. (For particularly compelling submissions, we may also add this to the Explore section of this page.)

Hypothesize with Us

The online annotation tool, Hypothesis, is built into this Web site. Feel free to annotate this (or any page in the ACE Framework) with your own thoughts, critiques, questions, or ideas. You can easily get started with a Hypothesis account (which is free) and learn more about how to use the tool

Join Our Team

Plymouth State University community members are invited to join our Teams site for the ACE Framework. Feel free to use our discussion channel to ask questions, give suggestions, and point to new resources. 


A space for user-submitted ideas, resources, and links related to this practice. 

Ethics textbooks

Rethinking British Literature

About the Workbook

The Workbook is an online space for you to record your reflections and assignments for the Workshop.

Participants at PSU will be using an Office 365 Word Document (available via the “Files” section of the “General” channel in the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to work on their Workbook.

About the Discussion Forum

The Discussion Forum is an online space where all the members of the Workshop can share ideas and reflections and build community

Participants at PSU will be using the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to access their Discussion Forum.

About the VidSpace

The VidSpace is an online space for synchronous video meetings among participants (that can also be recorded and shared for asynchronous access).

Participants at PSU will be using Zoom (available via the Zoom tab in the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to access their VidSpace. 

About the ACE “Institutional Level”

The ACE Framework is primarily designed for faculty who are readjusting their curriculum during times of regional, national, or global crisis. But in order for the work that faculty do with their assignments and courses to be most effective, it should be aligned with the institutional mission, which should guide policy and structural planning related to curriculum and teaching.

The institutional level of the framework is a reminder to faculty that if their adjustments at the assignment- or course-level are difficult to operationalize successfully, it could be due to larger policies and structures that are mis-aligned with the ACE Framework; advocacy may be warranted to bring the institution into alignment.

The institutional level of the framework is also a call to university policy-making committees, administrators, Boards of Trustees, and legislators that there is much work to be done to prepare university policies and structures to support students and faculty who are learning and teaching through challenging times.