6 Platforms

Implementation of appropriate technology platforms and processes can help institutions scale, measure, and support OER across campus. Note, that the list below is not exhaustive.


Pressbooks is an open platform for creating interactive books and courseware that is built from WordPress. Pressbooks allows users to create course content (e.g., textbooks, modules, etc.), collaborate with colleagues, insert interactive learning activities (e.g., h5p elements), and provide multiple formats of the finished content to students (e.g., online, downloaded pdf, ePub, Mobi for Kindle, etc.). In addition, Pressbooks content can be readily integrated into the college’s Learning Management System (LMS, e.g., Canvas). Several WTCS colleges have a Pressbooks account and there is a negotiated WTCS contract for consortia pricing (as of 2019-2020, the price for a year subscription is $5,000 per college). This college-level Pressbooks account allows the college to create and modify textbooks with embedded interactive content (e.g., h5p).


Wisc-Online is a non-profit organization housed at Fox Valley Technical College. They create interactive learning objects, including games and virtual reality. Their content is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY Non-Commercial) and can be readily pulled into WTCS courses and OER textbooks. They have learning objects across all career clusters and a library of free images, animations, audio and video clips. In addition, instructors can use their game building tool to create contextualized learning games to use in their course.

WISE-Learn Resources Library

The WISE-Learn Resources Library provides a Wisconsin OER Commons hub for open content. This platform is hosted by the Department of Public Instruction and has historically been K-12 focused. Yet, in 2019, the ‘College & Lifelong Learning’ group was created within this platform to help connect and share postsecondary OER. It is free to create an account within WISE-Learn and users can readily upload OER (e.g., textbooks, modules, entire courses, etc.). In addition, there is a simple OER creation tool (‘Open Author’) that is not as sophisticated as Pressbooks, but allows for writing OER content, even with other online collaborators.


LibreTexts is an OER platform that is based out of University of California – Davis. The LibreTexts repository houses open textbooks and course shells in several subject areas (e.g., engineering, business, medicine, etc.) and is expanding a workforce (e.g., construction, hospitality, Information Technology, etc.) OER library. The OER textbooks within LibreTexts can have advanced features, including interactive embedded multimedia. A powerful component of LibreTexts is the remixer tool which allows users to readily remix and download the textbooks within their libraries without having to do a lot of the tedious clean up work (e.g., changing page numbers, attributions, etc.). Accounts within LibreTexts are free. Books can be imported into the college’s learning management system and are also available for purchase as a print copy.

Learning management systems (LMS)

LMS technologies, like Blackboard and Canvas, are already deployed on most campuses. OER course materials can be loaded directly into the LMS even when they reside on external online repositories (e.g., LibreTexts). Technology staff can develop processes to import OER course materials into course shells so students have direct access in the LMS. Colleges and universities that prioritize loading OER materials into the LMS for all their courses will benefit from additional analytics that can be drawn from the LMS on the utilization of OER resources. Technical staff also may be positioned to assist faculty in understanding and evaluating software that permits them to customize existing OER (e.g., edit open textbooks).

ERP Systems

Colleges may need to develop mechanisms to identify and report the number of OER courses they offer. Adding course identification codes to colleges’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems (e.g., Banner) allows data administrators to add OER course identification tags to their back-office systems. Departments will also need to develop processes to identify and report which courses have an eligible OER designation (as distinct from other “no cost” or “low cost” courses that may not utilize openly licensed materials). These processes tend to operate manually at the department level, but automating these reporting processes can reduce administrative time and improve accuracy. Similarly, colleges should add OER identification tags to their course catalog and class schedule so students can identify and actively search for OER courses.

Auxiliary systems and services

Campus OER leaders may benefit from including the campus bookstore and/or print shop in their OER sustainability planning. These campus units are often well-positioned to provide OER-related services to students and faculty and may have already adapted their platforms and processes to accommodate new types of course materials, including OER. Many bookstores already have processes in place for faculty to report an OER course section during the textbook adoption process, with this information displayed in the colleges’ online bookstore.

Bookstores may also consider establishing a relationship with their campus print shop or other print vendor to make optional print versions of OER textbooks available for students to purchase. Bookstores may choose to stock a few copies on the shelf and monitor inventory or offer a print-on-demand service. Colleges should ask their auxiliary services providers how they can support OER and student learning in new ways. The bookstore may also develop guidelines to help faculty determine the number of print OER textbooks they should ask the bookstore to stock on their shelves.


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WTCS OER Field Guide for Sustainability Planning Copyright © by WTCS OER Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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