Peter Musser, Megan Simmons, Sophie Rondeau
Material Type:
Graduate / Professional
Creative Commons Attribution

OER Planning Template

OER Planning Template


OER Leaders are invited to remix this OER Planning Template to articulate a) a plan to assess your institution's current state of OER awareness and implementation b) your goals for OER adoption and use, and their targeted success indicators; c) a plan for building and engaging your OER Coalition, Programs, and Partnerships; d) a plan for the development and roll out of campus-level policies, guidelines, and resolutions in support of OER; d) an OER outreach and advocacy plan; and e) a plan for building capacity of your OER initiative.


OER Leaders are invited to remix this OER Planning Template to a) a plan to assess your institution's current state of OER awareness and implementation; b) your goals for OER adoption and use, and their targeted success indicators; c) a plan for building and engaging your OER coalition, programs, and partnerships; d) a plan for the development and roll out of campus-level policies, guidelines, and resolutions in support of OER; e) an OER outreach and advocacy plan; and f) a plan for building capacity of your OER initiative. When remixing, please give your remix a new title that includes your institution's name and feel free to customize the images and sections to best fit your needs. You can also download this template to your computer by clicking on the cloud with an arrow icon on the upper right of this page or import it into google classroom.

Analyzing the OER Landscape

Gaining a deeper understanding of the OER landscape in your state, region, institution, and department can greatly help inform your OER initiative. This process might involve informal information gathering or more formal research. One approach is to adapt questions used in the statewide OER landscape studies for use at a specific institution. Because the landscape surveys are openly licensed, campuses are free to draw on the questions and methods used in those surveys to analyze the landscape of OER at their institutions. Applicable questions from the surveys that can be translated to local contexts include:

  • What OER definitions, policies (including open licensing), programs, and courses are already in place?

  • Are course markings being implemented?

  • What individuals, offices, and roles, if any, lead OER efforts on campus?

  • To what extent does internal and/or external collaboration support OER work?

  • What OER enablers (such as professional development and funding) and barriers exist on campus?

  • How does your campus collect data to assess the effectiveness and impact of OER?

These questions could be distributed as questionnaires to library staff, administrators, or faculty at an institution informally, if a more formal research approach is not an option. Using campus listservs, putting flyers in faculty mailboxes, or other ways of reaching out directly to potential respondents will yield some information regarding OER awareness and initiatives. In addition, conversations with individuals across the institution - asking questions related to OER and how folks think about it - will provide a sense of the level of awareness on campus.

Here is a sample survey that was created by OER Leads at Del Mar College:

OER (Open Educational Resources) Survey

The purpose of this survey is to gain a snapshot of the extent DMC makes use of OER materials.

1. Please list the course(s) whereby OER are utilized within your department (e.g. CHEM 1406, BIO 1308, etc.) Note: Don't be concerned if you don't capture every course.

2. To the best of your knowledge, for those who make use of OER, what type of material is it?

  • Textbook
  • Online homework portal
  • YouTube videos
  • Other

3. In general for those faculty who don't use OER, what are the primary reasons for this?

  • A suitable OER is not available.
  • Faculty have not been made aware of current repository of OER in their respective disciplines (otherwise they may use such).
  • Content of course material changes frequently and OER lags behind.
  • Other

4. OPTIONAL: Feel free to offer additional comments with respect to OER.

Share your plan below to assess your institution's current OER awareness and implementation. 

Our plan for informal information gathering:

Our plan for formal research:



OER Goals & Success Indicators

OER Goals

Articulating your reasons for dedicating people's time and resources to support OER adoption and use is an important place to start. There is not a one-size-fits-all OER goal; institutions are all different, and each institution must consider its unique size, mission, and culture. OER goals can be tied to larger strategic plan goals, such as student recruitment, equitable outcomes in access, retention, and attainment, and/or cost savings. Other important considerations include the needs of student populations and communities, library and instructional design staffing, and resources and budgets. If institutional or system goals are not in place, developing SMART goals can be helpful in narrowing down the focus of an OER Program. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

For example, the strategic plan for the Austin Community College District (ACCD) includes goals toward achieving equity and access, persistence and engagement, and completion and transition to employment/transfer. In ACCD's 2020-21 Student Success Report, OER initiatives are mentioned as key to supporting the goal of persistence and engagement.

Compton College’s OER Initiative goal is to convert 85-100% of course offerings to rely on OER materials by 2035; ultimately, reducing the cost of course materials for students.

Share your SMART goals below:
  • OER Goal 1
  • OER Goal 2
  • OER Goal 3

OER Success Indicators

After setting attainable and realistic goals for establishing OER programs and ensuring their sustainability, developing metrics for success and collecting data using the metrics is an essential next step. The OER Success Indicators Worksheet, which includes a broad list of possible success indicators that can be a helpful starting point to identify and brainstorm additional metrics to track. Review the list of indicators and identify any that you would like to track and brainstorm additional metrics to track below.

OER Success Indicators

Partnership Growth
​​​​​- ​​​Number or new or expanded partnerships
- Diversity in the types of partnerships built
- Number of individuals adopting the project at the state, district, or school level
- Additional partnership growth metrics:

Increased Awareness & Reach
- Number of tweets about an initiative/project
- Number of references in external publications
- Number speaking engagements about the project
- Number of collections or websites that host/refer to the project or resources
- Additional increased awareness and reach metrics: 

Growth in an OER Collection 
- Number of new resources added
- Number of derivative resources added
- Number of user-generated tags added
- Number of reviews or ratings added
- Additional growth in an OER collection metrics:

Impact on Teaching & Learning
- Data showing changes in students’ length of time on the resources in the online environment 
- Percent of educators reporting changes in practice as a result of the OER intervention 
- Percent reporting changes in student engagement
- Improved student test performance
- Faculty and staff trained in OER
- Faculty course adoptions, remixes, and creations
- Faculty and student perceptions of OER
- Additional impact on teaching and learning metrics:

Cost & Other Efficiencies
- Data showing decrease in student spending on course materials
- Percent of educators reporting efficiencies gained from using OER
- Additional cost and other efficiencies metrics:

Additional Success Indicators:





Building & Engaging Our OER Coalition, Programs, and Partnerships

OER Coalition

Once you have clear OER goals and success indicators, you will want to connect with collaborators who can contribute their expertise to help you grow your OER initiative. Before reaching out to your larger campus community, it is helpful to explore if there are any Champions and Early Adopters that are currently using OER, any existing partnerships with OER projects or providers, and any OER priorities, initiatives, policies, programs already in place.

Below are a few suggested collaborators you can reach out to and their areas of expertise. Share which collaborators you will be engaging with for your OER initiative and what you will be asking them to contribute below.          

Campus Role

Goals and Areas of Interest and Expertise                                 


Affordable learning, copyright, faculty development, discovery, and curation                                                        

Faculty Adopters

Equitable student success, equitable student access, academic freedom, course enrollments, engaging curriculum that is locally and culturally relevant, supporting social justice through open pedagogy, high-quality textbooks, readings, and ancillary materials                 

Instructional Designers       

Course design, copyright permissions, accessibility 


Retention rates, student feedback, enrollments, equitable student success               

Student Leaders

Cost savings, quality of curriculum, student engagement in courses, accessibility, equitable access to materials, relevant materials, belonging                          

  Our OER Coalition Collaborators include:
Campus Role:Goals & Areas of Interest / Expertise

Additional questions to consider while building and engaging with your OER Coalition include:

Who should be included in OER efforts (a committee, task force, council, etc.)?

How will we train and empower leaders?

What leadership messaging needs to be in place that conveys that cross-institution partnerships are a priority on campus?

What resources will help to empower those directly advancing OER, so they are able to connect and build effective partnerships in their offices?

How might students be engaged in partnerships to help share information and advocate for OER? What are the benefits of student involvement – both to students and the institution?

How might academic and student affairs units (e.g., student support services like tutoring, math and writing centers, academic departments, advising, counseling, online and continuing education, instructional design, faculty senate, library, finance and budgeting) be engaged as experts and trusted advocates?

What internal or external partners can offer skills or resources to support this work?


OER Programs

There are important supports available for institutions to develop plans for their OER programs, including participating in training academies, connecting with collaborators, and leveraging best practices. Establishing foundational knowledge on open educational resources and practices, and having a central place for institutions to collaborate, curate, and share resources help build a solid foundation to advance OER programs.

The OER Program supports we will leverage include:







OER Partnerships

Establishing or joining a consortium or less formal partnership across multiple campuses or institutions can help newer OER initiatives benefit from the work of others who are further along the path in their OER programs. Additionally, partners can take advantage of open licensing to create shared resources that can be developed and maintained by faculty across institutions. Such multi-institution relationships are important for both developing and mature OER programs to provide community support, share information and experience, and provide faculty collaborations around content creation, adaptation, and implementation. 

The Partnerships we plan to build and engage with include:





    Developing Policies, Guidelines & Resolutions in Support of OER

    OER policies, guidelines, and resolutions can strengthen an institution’s existing initiatives and lay a foundation for long-term success. The range of options for policies is significant – they can serve to codify responsibilities, allocate resources, or provide a tacit demonstration of administrative support for the overarching purpose of the initiative. Examples exist not only at the campus and institutional levels, but also at the system, state, federal, and international levels. 

    OER Policy Examples

    • States that have enacted OER-related policies available here SPARC's OER State Policy Tracker
    • In 2018, Houston Community College adopted the following policy: “Programs must... evaluate the best available open educational resources (OER) when reviewing books for a particular course. If any OER receives a similar score to another commercial textbook that is adopted by the program, the OER must also be adopted. An unlimited number of OER may be approved for adoption. In addition, it is strongly recommended that the Program Committee adopt minimum guidelines for the use of OER or any other free or online materials that have not been evaluated or approved as a textbook. Meeting minutes should note where no OER are available.”
    • Austin Community College recently updated the ACC policy on copyright ownership to support and encourage the use of Creative Commons licenses when possible. ACC makes it clear that “[c]reators should use the most appropriate license for their work.”
    • DOERS3 has developed a Tenure and Promotion Matrix and guidelines for institutions looking to make open publishing part of tenure and promotion.
    Which policies will you develop to support your OER initiative?
    OER Course Markings - 
    Open License Policies - 
    College Affordability Policies, Initiatives, and Resolutions - 


    OER Outreach & Advocacy Plan

    Campuswide OER Advocacy Tips 

    Focus on the Why - Focus on the problem that OER can solve for your stakeholders. For administrators, this might be textbook costs; for teachers, it might be lack of quality content.

    Maintain Objectivity - Listen and maintain your position of why. Being aware of the barriers to change will better equip you to relate to their challenges.

    Engage the Engaged - At the early stages of change, spend much of your effort on those who are listening. These are the early adopters, and they align with your “why.”

    Reinforce the Change - Keep your early adopters engaged through reinforcement strategies. Seek their feedback, showcase their work, and know what they are doing next.

    A helpful resource to show the impacts of OER adoption in Higher Education is this summary of empirical research by the OpenEd Group 

    OER Advocacy Steps

    1. Tap Into Core Advocacy Skills - Successful OER advocacy requires a range of skills, knowledge, and interests, including the following:

    • Passion about the concept of open
    • Clarity on the economic and pedagogical benefits of OER
    • Insight into how the policy environment may constrain or enable OER use
    • Understanding of the pros and cons of different open licensing arrangements
    • Access to practical examples of OER used to illustrate key points
    • Up-to-date knowledge of the arguments for and against the use of OER
    • Ability to engage audiences effectively
    • Capacity to leverage students, administrators, teachers, and librarians and other staff as advocacy partners

    2. Understand Your Policy Context - Before embarking on your advocacy effort, it is important to review the following policies that might impact the adoption of OER at your institution.

    • Intellectual property policies and employment contracts – These address how works created by staff within the scope of employment may be shared with or used by others. Under the United States Copyright Act, the author of the work is generally the owner of the copyright. However, if a work is created within the scope of the author’s employment, the employer holds the copyright unless there is an agreement to the contrary. Check your institution's intellectual property policies and employment contracts, or contact your library and/or intellectual property office for information on faculty and staff rights as creators and sharers of educational materials.
    • Human resource policy guidelines – These outline whether the creation of certain kinds of work (e.g., learning resources) constitutes part of the job description for faculty and staff, and what the implications are for remuneration and promotion purposes. It is important for OER creators and remixers to understand if their work will be funded and if it could be applied to tenure or promotion opportunities, for example.
    • Technology policy guidelines – These address access to and use of appropriate technology and technical support, as well as provision for version control and the storage systems for the institution’s educational resources. This impacts your OER work in concrete ways, providing clear strategies and guidelines for how to publish OER, how to manage remixes and versioning, and it can ensure that OER is discovered by those interested.
    • Materials development and quality assurance policy guidelines – These help ensure appropriate selection, development, quality assurance, and copyright clearance of works that may be shared. This category also encompasses library collection development policies and guidelines, and whether those policies explicitly support OER and open access as part of collection building.
    • Textbook and instructional materials adoption, ordering, and approval policies – These policies and practices are usually set by a college/university or instructional division and govern who can make decisions about textbook adoption, how adoptions are approved, and what criteria are used to approve textbook adoptions.

    3. Understand the Barriers to OER Adoption Understanding the barriers to OER and why your stakeholders may be resistant to its adoption will help you to better tailor your advocacy strategy to specific audiences. Barreirs may include:

    • Gaps in technical skills to identify OER  
    • Content curation and developemnent costs
    • Instructor training costs
    • Skepticism around OER quality
    • Lack of time, incentives, knowledge to work with OER
    • Lack of curatorial and collaborative workflows to support OER
    • Misalignment between open licensing and campus copyright guidlines
    • Lack of knowledge about intellectual propery rights and open licensing 

    4. Tailor Your Message - Sharing your passion and reason for being an OER champion is powerful, but what about your audience? Before presenting any change initiative, consider who is in the room and what is in it for them.

    5. Formative Evaluation of your OER Program - A sustainable OER program involves not just a one-time evaluation of outcomes but an iterative process of formative evaluation and improvement to the program based on research findings and progress towards those success indicators.

    6. Identify Your High-Impact Engagement Strategies - Below are some engagement strategies that have been identified by OER implementation project leads and that are encouraged for exploration.

    • Formal Presentation: Securing a time slot with one stakeholder group can allow you to focus on their interests and change their perspective on OER. Speaking the language of those in the audience is a stepping stone to cultural change.
    • Informal Sharing: Sharing your personal story is a great way to declare yourself as an OER champion in your community and can draw engagement and interest from people in a way that educating and informing may not.
    • Call to Action: Providing a clear “next step” when sharing information, presenting, or communicating via modeling or social media can drive interested parties to become implementers rather than consumers.
    • Modeling: The “unknown” of change can be the biggest barrier. Modeling the outcomes of change and helping people observe what the end state will or can be is a way to alleviate change-related apprehension.
    • Social Media: Consider blogging, tweeting, and posting on listservs as important tools for advocacy and outreach. A way to start is to read and comment on relevant blogs and to follow other educators who are writers and influencers on OER.
    Outreach Communication Planning:
    ​​​​Identify your target audience and outreach goals -
    • Content of your outreach – What do you want to share? Be sure to clearly communicate the value add for your intended audience, as well as any relevant links, images, resources, videos, etc.


    • Outreach method – How will you share? (social media, blog, website, listservs, presentation, etc.)


    • Outcome and impact – What action do you hope others will take as a result of your outreach?



    Upcoming Outreach Opportunities


    OER Capacity Building