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Open Education Resources (OER) Update

In a 2013 survey, 65% of students polled from universities and colleges across the U.S.reported that students declined to purchase required textbooks due to the high cost. Ninety-four percent of these students admitted they made this decision despite concerns that not purchasing the material would hurt their grade in the course.

While there is no single solution to the high cost of textbooks, open educational resources or OERs are being produced by credible authors and incorporated into curricula at many colleges and universities. OERs are books and other instructional materials freely available.  Types of OERs include textbooks, content modules, simulations, image galleries, software, and more. The library maintains a guide that tracks credible OER collections.

Many OERs are customizable, enabling an instructor to tailor a resource to their own course needs. Because many OERs are available for reuse through a Creative Commons license, the hurdles of restrictive licensing or costly permissions are removed.

Some OER collections are available through the following links:

Let the library help you with locating, using, or even creating OERs. Our campus repository, Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech is a perfect platform for the OERs you create and want to share. And, when you would like assistance with interpreting the range of Creative Commons licenses, request a personal consultation with a librarian. Sometimes the idea of copyrighted work can feel like a huge impediment to creating your own work or course pack; librarians love to solve these problems with you. Request a confidential copyright consultation with a librarian.

Additionally, the library provides subscription access to many ebooks including titles published by Springer, IOP, McGraw-Hill, SPIE and ASM. Email for more information.

New Databases and Resources

To access databases from off-campus, we recommend navigating through the Databases A-Z tab, located on the library homepage. You will be prompted to login with your username and ISO password. For more information, please refer to our Remote Access to Electronic Resources page.

Access Engineering – New
Online or mobile access to over 200 engineering sources including the latest editions of Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, Perry’s Chemical Engineers Handbook, Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers, Roark’s Formulas for Stress and Strain, PE exam study for civil engineering and other ebooks (also individually cataloged in our catalog). Resources are organized by subject, discipline or curriculum and a range of explanatory videos. Tools include calculators and data visualization. Also includes the Roaming Passport feature, a single click download to a mobile device, which allows access to this resource when your mobile device is not connected to Michigan Tech’s network. Instructors in engineering are encouraged to review this McGraw-Hill resource.

Atlas of Weed Mapping – New
Presents an introductory overview of the occurrence of the most common weeds of the world. Content includes weed descriptions, invasive plant mapping, cropping practices and theory of weed distribution, aquatics and wetlands and herbicide resistance.

Communication & Mass Media Complete – New
More than 850 journals and some ebooks, with 500 full-text, some with coverage back to 1915, about communication, mass media, linguistics, discourse, rhetoric, sociolinguistics, communication theory, language, logic, organizational communication, and other closely related fields of study. Many journals are indexed from first issue to the present. The database also features searchable cited references, comprehensive reference browsing and a communication thesaurus.

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics – New
This venerable handbook covers physical properties data, mathematical formulas, international recommendations on nomenclature, symbols, and units. The Handbook is a standard reference for chemistry, physics, geology, biology, environmental sciences and other physical sciences This 97th edition of the handbook contains 20 new or updated tables as well as updated and expanded content.

GeoScienceWorld – New
Full text access to journals in mineralogy, environmental geology, mining, geochemistry, engineering, hydro-geology, seismology and other geoscience disciplines. Coverage includes current and archived issues, providing access to all issues of journals — some of which have long been accessible through the library; others are new. GeoScienceWorld is also the way to access the index to GeoRef.

Digital Measures Needs Faculty Feedback

The Faculty Activity Report (FAR): Merit is meant to replace the annual Faculty Vitae Update. Faculty feedback reflecting individual problems or needs observed or suggestions that affect the faculty generally will be most appreciated by April 1, 2017. The  FAR has been available since December 2016. Kindly send your comments to Helene Hiner or invite her to meet with you and your colleagues.

Textbook Support at the Library

The library provides services and resources that can help instructors keep course material costs down for their students. Although the library is financially unable to purchase required textbooks for students, we do have resources and services that can help lower the cost to students.

Course reserve, both print and electronic, is provided through the library. Print reserves are materials held in the library and made available for limited loan periods which you select. Both library-owned and the instructor’s personal/desk copy (yes) can be placed on course reserve. Electronic or ‘e-reserve’ enables students in a course to access assignments, readings, and practice exams anywhere, anytime through the library’s catalog. Some materials for e-reserve may require copyright clearance and the library’s staff is happy to help instructors with analysis of fair use and/or rights checking. Learn more at course reserve or email with your questions or ideas.

Most of the library’s licensed  journal, ebook, and video content can easily be linked into your Canvas course site, providing students access to affordable course content. All ebooks are discoverable by searching the library catalog or Search tab. Journals, videos and e-book collections, which consist of a large number of books on similar topics or from a single publisher, can also be found through the Library Databases A to Z search. Some ebook collections like SpringerLink also offer discounted and/or inexpensive softbound print versions of many of the works in their collections. For instructions on linking the library’s licensed content into your Canvas course see our Copyright in the Classroom guide.

Open educational resources or OERs are course materials that are freely available on the internet. Many colleges and universities have adopted OERs to help defray the high costs of course materials for their students. The library’s OER Guide features OER repositories and publishers, plus additional information on OERs. The library can also assist instructors who want to create their own open educational resources. Contact to get started!

Whether you need to share an article or are ready to create your own course content, the library is here to help! Contact

Impact of Textbook Costs on Students

A 2016 survey examined textbook affordability and acquisition at Florida’s public higher education institutions. The results highlight several key findings. Chart 1: Impact of Textbook Costs on Students illustrates the response to how the high cost of textbooks impacted student learning and academic choices.
Source: Florida Virtual Campus. (2016). 2016 Florida Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey. Tallahassee, FL. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Source: Florida Virtual Campus. (2016). 2016 Florida Student Textbook & Course Materials Survey. Tallahassee, FL.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Proxy Service Now Available

Preserving the confidentiality of all library transactions and patron records is an important library commitment. Faculty and persons with disabilities (including temporary) are invited to take advantage of the library’s new proxy services. On your behalf, a library proxy may borrow, renew, and recall library items; pick up items being held at the Library Service Center; and place requests in ILLiad. Two types of accounts are available, allowing you to tailor the service to your specific needs. 

To request a proxy account(s), please review our proxy service policy and complete a request form.

Library Instruction Rooms

The library has three instructional spaces on the second floor, all optimized for different uses.

Library Instruction Rooms (Rooms 242 and 244)

Library 242 and 244 are reserved solely for information literacy instruction in various formats. When not used for instruction, these spaces are used by students for study, computing, and collaboration. Library workshops are held in these rooms, as well as individual sessions for undergraduate and graduate classes upon instructor request. Any instructor is encouraged to schedule librarian-led class instruction on information literacy skills such as finding, using, and evaluating library resources, or request customized library instruction workshops for your department, lab, or course. Classes of up to 32 students can be accommodated in the library’s instruction rooms; a librarian will visit your classroom for larger classes. A minimum of 14 days notice is required for librarian-led sessions to enable the preparation required for a meaningful session.

As Library 242 and 244 are not openly reservable computer classrooms, reservable computer classrooms can be found though IT’s list of openly reservable computer labs.

Experimental Education Environment/E3 (Room 243)

The Experimental Education Environment (E3) is a 15-seat classroom that can be booked for any length of time, from a single session up to an entire semester. The E3 supports all Michigan Tech instructors’ experimentation with instructional designs, use of instructional technology or educational media, and room or furniture arrangement. With five screens on three of the room’s walls, wireless presentation technology, and easily moveable furniture, there is no “front of the room” which facilitates use of nontraditional instruction formats.

The E3 classroom is scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. To schedule classes or groups (under 20 students), contact the Office of the University Librarian at (906) 487-2500 or Schedule an instructional design consultation, when desirable, with the Center for Teaching and Learning: (906) 487-3000.

East Reading Room

The East Reading Room can be reserved for presentations, events, and workshops for academic purposes and audiences. A projector, screen, and credenza with computing and media equipment are available for use, as is a lectern.

Due to the high number of students needing this space for study and computing, reservations are not available during specific times of the day during the fall and spring semesters, and from weeks 10 through 15. Faculty members are welcome to use this space at all other times.

To reserve this space, please complete our Event Request Form.