This guide serves to provide you with a starting point in deciding if open source is suitable for your classroom environment and links to many of the resources available.
Open Source Definition from the OER Commons website: Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials freely available for everyone to use, whether you are a teacher or a learner. This includes full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.
The Texas Education Code, (TEC) §31.002 defines Open-Source Materials as electronic textbooks that are available for downloading from the Internet at no charge to a student and without requiring the purchase of an unlock code, membership, or other access or use charge, except for a charge to order an optional printed copy of all or part of the textbook. The term includes a state-developed open-source textbook purchased under the TEC, Chapter 31, Subchapter B-1.
OER (Open Educational Resources), Open Access, and Library Resources all offer text/assignment materials that are free or low cost for students. The difference can be important for you as instructor.
OER: For material to qualify as OER, it has to not only free to access, but users should also be able to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the content.
Open Access: This can be any material that freely accessible. This includes material out of copyright, but also material that has been published as open access. Open Access doesn't always mean the material doesn't have copyright and/or can be edited by anyone.
Library Resources: Library resources in most cases can be accessed by anyone in the library, even online resources. Online resources that the library subscribes to can be accessed from outside the library by that library's community. PAC's e-resources can be accessed by all PAC students, faculty and staff. Copyright and fair use restrictions apply and this should be kept in mind when using library material in class. All our streaming video comes with permission to show in class or assign to all students. Most of our ebooks now allow for an unlimited number of simultaneous users and can be used as textbooks; however, we still have many that can only be viewed by 1 - 3 users at a time.
Creative Commons license (CC) explained HERE. A CC license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work
GNU-Free Document License explained HERE. The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works
Public Domain (PD) explained HERE. When a work is in the public domain, it is free for use by anyone for any purpose without restriction under copyright law. Public domain is the purest form of open/free, since no one owns or controls the material in any way.
Copyleft license: Oxford Dictionaries defines copyleft licenses as an arrangement whereby software or artistic work may be used, modified, and distributed freely on condition that anything derived from it is bound by the same condition.