Printing Open Educational Resource (OER) PDFs in four easy steps

Written by Matt on Sunday 17th May 2020

Printing Open Educational Resource (OER) PDFs in four easy steps

Open Educational Resources (OER) are frequently distributed in digital formats, like PDF but without an easy way to get the PDF in print.

With so many classes being held remotely, finding a convenient way to develop and distribute OER materials in print is more important than ever.  Regardless if courses are held in person or remotely, print plays a role in comprehension, and providing a simple option for students to obtain high page count OER in print benefits their educational experience. 

printme1.com has created unique and easy to use methods for professors, instructors, & librarians using OER to offer a print option to students and bookstores anywhere in the US. 

Our standard PDF printing service works great as a simple OER Printing Service for anyone teaching with OER, works in the Public Domain, or materials on which you hold the copyright (ie., your own lecture notes, writings, or study guides.) Just by visiting our site, anyone can turn their open content into a professional bound print that reads like a book, and mailed to a US address.

But have you ever had open content sourced from multiple PDF's you would like to use for a course you teach, but need a way to combine or edit those into a single PDF? 

or

Have you ever needed a more convenient way to distribute your class OER PDF in print other than posting it in a CMS/LMS and expecting students or bookstores to come up with their own print solution?  

Most OER does not come with a print version. (*Yes, some OER organizations do offer print versions of OER textbooks, please support them if that suits your academic needs best!)  

So we created two amazing tools that are free to use:

Our PDF Builder allows you to create & edit a custom PDF from multiple OER PDF's.   

Our PDF Hosting service can distribute your PDF digitally (for free), or in an affordable print version to your students or bookstores. 

Read on to find out more about Open Content, Open Educational Resources (OER), and also for our 4 easy steps to distribute OER.

First, what is "open" and what are OER?

 

OPEN CONTENT

Open Content and Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open content is public domain content, or content where the copyright holder is expressly granting permission for anyone to use their content based on the 5R's and"is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities."- Wiley, David. "Open Content". OpenContent.org.

5 R's of Open content 

Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)

Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)

Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)

Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)

Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/

 

OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OER)

 

OER Logo Open Educational Resources is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license


These are materials used in education that are based on open content. The degree of "openness" is designated by the license. 

Creative Commons is a nonp[rofit organization that provides free licenses that copyright owners can adopt for their works to license them as open. 

The Creative Commons Licenses are:

CC-By
Attribution-
Others may distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the work, even commercially, as long as they credit the owner of the original creation.


CC-ND 
Attribution-NoDerivs-
Others may reuse the work for any purpose, including commercially; however, it cannot be shared with others in adapted form, and credit must be provided to owner.
 

CC-BY-NC
Attribution-NonCommercial-
Others may remix, adapt, and build upon the work non-commercially, and although any new works must also acknowledge the owner and be non-commercial, new works do not have to license their derivative works on the same terms. The interpretation of "non commercial" pertains to users outside of the license terms, and recent court cases have found print service providers engaged by bona fide licensee's are considered non-commercial uses (ie, a teacher or student paying a service to print something CC-BY-NC used in their course is within the terms of the license.)
 

CC-BY- SA
Attribution-ShareAlike- 
Others may remix, adapt, and build upon the work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the owner and license any new creations under identical terms. This license is often compared to "copyleft" free and open source software licenses. All new works based on an existing work must carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

CC-BY-NC-ND
Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs
The most restrictive of CC's six main licenses, only allowing others to download these works and share them with others as long as they credit the owner, but the works can't be changed in any way or used commercially.

CC-0  
No Rights Reserved-
Others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse CC-0 works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

From Creative Commons. For more information on Creative Commons licenses, please visit this link.



More OER Information- Where can I find OER's that are already created? or how do I create my own OER ? (coming soon)


The Four Easy Steps to Distributing OER

Simple distribution of open content in print - OER Printing Service


Distributing an OER for your course is a simple process.  printMe1.com has the free tools to get your PDF ready to distribute digitally, or in print, to students or bookstores. 

While our standard print service works great as an OER Printing service, our free tools help customize your OER, and make it easy to distribute directly to students or your campus bookstore.  

Here are the steps:
 

Step 1:  Organize your PDF, and plan for print 

 

Plan extra space for binding

If your PDF is ready to go, skip to step 3, but if you are just getting started, the following is for you:

Questions to ask are how do I want my materials to be used? Do I want to facilitate handwritten note taking?  If so, creating a PDF of lecture notes with space to write along with is very useful.  

Or if you are using reading materials that are OER, maybe you would like to combine OER from different sources and mix those with your own content? It's really up to you based on your course content and format. 

Planning for print means to make sure the PDF is designed for print, and that there is a convenient method for students to print the document if they want to. One of the best features of OER is that the end user can choose the format they prefer. 

Some important design guidelines for using a PDF print service (like printMe1):

Page Size:  8 1/2" x 11". This is the "standard" page size in the US. Known as "US Letter". Easiest and most cost effective size to use. 

Margin:  1/4" on top, bottom, and outside edge. 5/8" for gutter edge (interior side edge) to allow room for binding.

Design for double-sided printing: 

- Do you have chapters or sections?  Make sure they start on the "odd" page numbers. Insert a blank at the end of a chapter if it ends on an "odd". 

-Don't forget if you have a front over, you also need something for the inside of the front cover, or it throws off all of the chapter/section starting pages.  Insert a blank as the back of the front cover, or use it to include some credits or footnotes. 
 


Step 2:  Use our PDF Builder to customize your PDF content. We created this free tool that lets you upload a PDF or PDFs, and from there you can create your own custom textbook

Combine, edit pdfs into one PDF. Optionally add extra page numbers, table of contents, or front cover


One important note on OER is that while most open licenses allow derivative works, one in particular does not. That is the CC-BY-ND. If you are using an OER with one of these, then you need to use it as-is without modification. But for all other OER types, you can mix them together as long as you are following the terms of the license. For works that are CC-BY-NC, recent court cases have upheld the use of a print service like ours when the printing is for class.

 

Use our free PDF Builder to:

-Combine PDF's into one PDF file

-Remove pages from PDF's

-Add an extra set of page numbers to the entire PDF

-Add chapter breaks were each new PDF starts

-Create a table of contents automatically

-Add a Front cover over your new table of contents
 

With the features listed above, our PDF Builder is an easy way to combine all of your OER PDF's into one file, and then use that file for your course. 

To use the PDF Builder, just start here, and begin uploading all of your PDF's. No log in is required. One important note - the current version of our PDF Builder feature requires the process to be completed in one session. 
 

Here's a video with the basic features if you would like to get an idea of how the PDF Builder works. (We have added features since this was created.)
 


Step 3:  Upload your PDF into our PDF Hosting service. This service allows the student to download the PDF for free, or checkout for a print without needing to upload the pdf file
 

Distribute your PDF digitally or in print to students or bookstores



Just start by uploading your PDF file, create a title that would help identify the PDF for your students or bookstores, and then answer a few questions about the source of the materials,, accept our terms of service, and then click submit.  Some other details are you can also include an ISBN if the document is a stand-alone OER with an ISBN. Also, you can choose the suggested print type (Color or black & white printing) and binding type you would like to be displayed as the default types. The student can change those in checkout if they want, but you can guide them into a cost or type that you think will be the most appropriate for your class.

Once the PDF is submitted for PDF Hosting, we receive a notification and review the submission to confirm that it meets the requirements for our hosting feature. The main requirements to use our PDF Hosting service are that the materials you include are either OER, public domain, or works on which you hold the copyright. If you have items that are copyrighted and require permission and royalty to be collected, we are not able to host these in our service, however we can recommend a service for that.  

Click here to get started with PDF Hosting.
 

Note: If you feel that our PDF Hosting isn't right for you, you can also distribute the PDF from your class site and direct students to printMe1.com by posting the link to our site. 


Step 4 Distribute your PDF Hosting Link

PDF hosting links go to a custom landing page like this



Once we approve your submission, you receive a link to a landing page that contains a thumbnail of the 1st page, then your title, the page count, and the default print and binding types you designated.  There are also buttons on the landing page to order a print, or download for free.

More about the link to your custom landing page for your approved PDF. If your user is either a student or bookstore, and they want to order a print or multiple prints, they can click the "Order Print" button, and they are in the standard checkout for our pdf printing service, with your hosted PDF in their checkout. The end user can change any of the default selections  as if they uploaded the PDF themselves. The default selections are the ones you made when you submitted the PDF into the PDF Hosting feature. If the user just wants to download the PDF, they can click the download button and get the PDF for free. Share the PDF Hosting link by email, on your course website, or social media.

Our PDF Hosting service is an easy way to provide a print option to your students or bookstores for custom OER course materials without requiring them to download from your course site and upload into ours. 

printMe1,com's PDF Hosting service is free and is a very simple way to distribute your course PDF. 

 

Conclusion:
 


If you teach from Open Educational Resources (OER), materials in the Public Domain, or works you created yourself, and are looking for a simple way to provide a print option for your US students or bookstores, printMe1 has two awesome free tools to combine and edit PDF's, and then distribute them digitally or in print. 

Our PDF Builder is a free and easy to use free feature that combines and edits your PDF's, and also has options for adding an extra set of page numbers, automatically generating a table of contents, and adding a new front cover. 

Our PDF Hosting service is a free tool to create a link to a custom landing page for your PDF, with options for your users to purchase a print, or download for free. The key feature of the service that it allows your students or bookstores to order your PDF just by using the link, instead of individually uploading the PDF themselves. It's an easy way to direct your US Students of bookstores to a digital download of your PDF, or an easy to use print option.

Of course, if you just need a print of something you created, or is OER or in the Public Domain, you don't need to use PDF Hosting to get a print. You can always just use our standard PDF printing service. Just visit printMe1.com and click "Start Now".

If you have any questions about how to use printMe1.com to distribute open content, please contact us.

 

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