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COVID-19 and affordability challenges: Support students with open educational resources and library resources


DePaul library
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

It has been a collective effort and learning experience for all of us to quickly transition to a fully online spring quarter due to COVID-19. One of the early lessons for the Library was the realization that students who cannot afford to purchase course materials have become even more vulnerable. In the past, these students have relied on borrowing physical copies of books through I-Share, checking out books on physical reserve in the library, or sharing course materials with classmates—options that are not available to students this quarter. Financial stress may be compounded with the loss of employment income for some students.

Please remember to consider alternative course materials as you move through spring quarter, and as you plan for your summer and fall courses. Supplementing or replacing required course materials with open educational resources and library licensed resources is an effective way to help defray expenses for students and support them in their learning.  

Where to locate OERs

“Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions."                                               ~The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

There are several large collections of OERs which can be good starting points to search for relevant materials by subject.

Additional repositories of open materials can be found on the library's Open Educational Resources guide.

Trial OER database:  Faculty Select

  • The library has a trial to the EBSCO Faculty Select database. Use this database to search and access quality open textbooks, Open Educational Resources​, and discover unrestricted library e-books from top academic publishers

*DePaul subject librarians are available to help you locate open materials.

Library-Licensed Resources

The library offers many licensed resources that can also be used to supplement open course materials for online courses. Explore the following collections for ebooks, videos, articles, and images. These materials can be requested through the library's reserve system--the reserves staff will review materials for compliance with fair use guidelines and make them digitally available for your class.

Articles and Ebooks

  • Article databases:  Filter the A-Z databases list by subject to locate the top databases in your discipline to search for articles.
  • Ebooks: Consider selecting an electronic book as a textbook for your course.

Images and Streaming Videos

  • Streaming videos: Locate video collections in many disciplines for viewing in your course.
  • Images: Access this useful guide to locate DePaul images and open images.