What is Open?

March 4-8, 2024 - Open Education WeekA series of events sharing USask stories and accomplishments in Open Education!

Join us to learn about USask open successes, attend a new book launch, learn how to engage and build OER with on campus supports, or making the move to include OEP as part of curriculum renewal. 

What are Open Educational Practices (OEP)?
  • Materials are accessible so everyone can use them, for example: it is free, works well with screen readers, no password required, etc.
  • Anyone can create, collaborate on, and share the materials.
  • There are choices for the creator of the materials as to what they will create and how they will share it.
  • Research data and publications available for everyone to access and use.
  • Reflections on teaching and learning so others may learn from our experiences.

Why choose Open?

Click to view and save this poster as a PDF

Why use Open Educational Practices (OEP)?

Access to:

  • Reduced costs for students
  • Localized content
  • Improved academic integrity
Alignment with:
  • Learning outcomes
  • Teaching values
  • Institutional Priorities
Agency for:
  • Instructors to control content in learning materials instead of commercial publishers.
  • Students to contribute knowledge instead of just consuming.


Finding Open Textbooks

There are a growing number of open textbooks available across most disciplines. You can search for books on the following websites or browse by discipline areas.

Site Name Link
USask Open Textbook Catalogue https://openpress.usask.ca/catalog/
B.C. Open Collection by BCcampus https://collection.bccampus.ca/
LibreText https://libretexts.org/
OpenStax (Rice Univeristy) https://openstax.org/
Open Textbook Library (University of Minnesota) https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks
Pressbooks Directory https://pressbooks.directory/

Browse by Discipline Area: 

Open Pedagogy

Taking an open pedagogy approach to assessment allows students to contribute to creating knowledge and resources that demonstrate their learning and provide opportunities to show how their learning and the discipline can contribute to helping local communities and the world address the challenges we face today. This approach increases engagement and may help address instructor concerns related to academic integrity.

Several open pedagogy projects have been integrated into courses at USask. Read about some of them and see additional examples on the Open Pedagogy page.

Open Textbooks & Projects

Currently being developed

Introduction to Organic Chemistry - Open textbook project

An open resource sharing curated projects in service of the Queer Theory, Gender Diversity, and Sexualities Studies Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies - Open pedagogy project

Integrating Sustainability into Teaching and Learning - Open textbook project being created by USask Sustainability Fellows

Engineering Economics - Open textbook project

Veterinary Pharmacology - Open textbook project

If you have an OER or open pedagogy project in the works that is not on this list, please email Heather Ross, GMCTL.

Highlighted projects

Northern Review- No.53 Special Issue: Indigenous Self-Determination through Mitho Pimachesowin: Perspectives from Northern Saskatchewan


Editor: Dr. Bonita Beatty

Indigenous scholars from the North of Canada and Eastern Siberia, graduates from the former Master of Northern Governance and Development program (MNGD) at the University of Saskatchewan, contributed to the creation of this volume on Indigenous Knowledge, northern ways of life, and self-determination.

Cover: Kiwetinohk Pimachesowin (Northern Way of Life) | Photo credit: Bonita Beatty

Introduction to Psychology


Author: Dr. Jorden Cummings

This book, used in first-year Psychology, benefits approximately 2,000 students at USask and is also used at several other post-secondary institutions. USask Professor Jordan Cummings created it by pulling materials from existing OER, revising it, and adding new content that was otherwise missing.

Cover: Image credit: Yeshi Kangrang via Unsplash. Cover design by Rob Butz.

Digging into Canadian Soils: An Introduction to Soil Science


Written entirely by members of the Canadian Society of Soil Science, "Digging into Canadian Soils: An Introduction to Soil Science" provides an introduction to the core disciplines of soil science and introduces the concepts and vocabulary needed by students just beginning their soil science journey. The textbook provides supplementary materials specific to regions in Canada or maybe of specific interest beyond what might be considered introductory soil science material. More than forty contributors from across Canada were part of this project, including six from USask.

Cover: Orthic Humo-Ferric Podzol under 60 year-old black spruce-moss stand. Photograph taken in 2016 at Station 204 of the Quebec Forest Study and Monitoring Network (RESEF) of the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks | Photo credit: Rock Ouimet.  Cover design by Lewis Fausak. License: CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial

Universal Design for Learning: One small Step

Book link: https://openpress.usask.ca/universaldesignforlearning/

This learning resource was adapted from an existing OER to help USask educators reshape their teaching practices by using the principles and approaches of universal design of learning (UDL).

Cover image: Pixabay, free to use under their Terms of Service.


Funding is available to support creation of Open Educational Resource (OER) projects and Open Pedagogy (OP) projects. The amount of funding you can receive will depend on the type of project (OER or OP) and the number of students who will directly benefit from the project each year at USask.

Open Educational Resource (OER)

  • Projects that involve creating or significantly adapting an open textbook may receive up to $10,000.
  • Projects that involve creating or significantly adapting an ancillary resource that enables the adoption of an open textbook or otherwise removes the cost of a textbook for students may receive up to $5,000.
Open Pedagogy (OP)
  • Projects that do not involve the creation or adaptation by students of an open textbook or otherwise remove the cost of a textbook for students may receive up to $3,500.
  • Projects that do involve the creation or adaptation by students of an open textbook or otherwise remove the cost of a textbook for students may receive up to $7,000.

Please contact Heather Ross, GMCTL to discuss your project and potential funding.


Support & Technologies

Whether or not you receive funding for an open project, there are supports and tools available for use with your project, including:

  • assistance finding existing OER,
  • help understanding and navigating copyright and open licensing,
  • consultation on the instructional design aspects of an open resource,
  • consultation with developing an open pedagogy project, and
  • assistance with using Pressbooks, Wordpress, or the Harvest Open Educational Resource Collection.


Harvest Open Educational Resource Collection - USask repository for OER created by instructors, staff, and students
Learning Technology Ecosystem Toolkit - A website detailing learning technologies approved for use at USask, the best practices for using them, and links to resources to support their usage.
Pressbooks - Use this platform for creation or adaptation of Open Textbooks at USask.
Wordpress - A USask supported blogging platform.


Homework Systems

Homework systems are online tools that can grade questions asked to students as homework, track formative practice, or assess examinations. They are most useful in classes where students are problem solving, for example math or chemistry, and need immediate feedback about if they have done the process correctly. Homework systems are also commonly used to test recall.

Homework systems can be commercial, student-pay systems or non-commercial (free) systems. For a comparison of the pros and cons of commercial systems, as well as a list of alternatives, please follow the link below.

Open Courses

USask has offered at least five open courses since 2014. The most recent courses include:

Get Help

If you have questions about Open Educational Practices or need help finding Open Educational Resources contact the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning (GMCTL)

If you are looking for Open Resources to use in your course, connect with the University Library, and seek out a Library Liaison in your discipline.