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SETDA OER Case Studies: Utah


Across the country, as district and schools shift to digital learning environments educators are leveraging digital instructional materials including open educational resources (OER) to provide more diversified and personalized instruction to improve teaching and learning.

As a part of the movement to digital learning, the implementation of open educational resources is climbing. States, districts, and local schools are modifying their current policies for approving curricula to include OER materials, encouraging the use of OER at the local level and in some cases providing OER materials. These trends provide educators the opportunity to fully utilize digital instructional materials, including OER, to improve teaching and learning.


In 2010, David Wiley from Brigham Young University contacted Nebo School District about piloting an OER program. The pilot was conducted by the Utah Open Textbook Project, a partnership involving BYU, Nebo School District, and the Utah Office of Education. Teachers from Spanish Fork High School, Payson High School, and Payson Junior High School worked together over the summer to develop the first science OER in the district.

For the first iteration of the OER chemistry materials, the teachers primarily used the content available on the CK-12 platform. The CK-12 website has free open source K-12 materials that can be modified and mixed, as needed. The content was contained in flexbooks, where the teachers selected specific chapters and content to include in the biology digital materials.

Each summer, teams of district teachers meet to update the OER materials; constantly adding additional resources and images, including student feedback. During this process, reviewers target areas where students are struggling or where they have misconceptions. In addition, specific textbooks were edited to meet the expectations of concurrent enrollment courses at Utah Valley University.

The full case study is available online at http://oerstudies.setda.org/case-studies/utah/.

SETDA OER Case Studies: Utah is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (CC BY 3.0). Adapted from http://oerstudies.setda.org/case-studies/utah/ under a CC-BY license.