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Open Educational Resources: Overview

Open Educational Resources

The Open and Affordable Textbook (OAT) initiative aims to reduce the cost of textbooks for NJIT students through the use of Open Educational Resources (OER). The University Libraries, in partnership with the Office of Digital Learning, launched this initiative during spring 2017 semester to increase course affordability by helping faculty to adopt free and low-cost open educational resources.

Goals of the Initiative:

  • Encourage faculty and instructional staff to redesign course curriculum with free or low-cost options in order to increase affordability for students.
  • Provide support to faculty and instructional staff for implementing these approaches and engaging new pedagogical models for classroom instruction.
  • Lower the costs for students in order to contribute to their success, retention, and graduation.
  • Raise awareness of OER within the NJIT community.
  • Generate and share “success stories” about the cost-savings for students.

NJIT's Open and Affordable Textbook Project  |  Academic Year 2017-2018 Awardees and Projects

Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others." (Hewlett Foundation)

OER Includes Digital Learning Materials:

  • Open textbooks, full courses, course materials and modules, learning objects, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, games, simulations, self-developed educational videos.

OER Materials are Released Under an Open License Granting Permission for Everyone to:

  • Retain - users have the right to make, archive, and own copies of the content.
  • Reuse - content can be reused in its unaltered form.
  • Revise - content can be adapted, adjusted, modified, and altered.
  • Remix - original or revised content can be combined with other contents to create new content.
  • Redistribute - copies of the content can be shared with others in its original, revised or remixed form.

NJIT University Libraries provide support for faculty members who wish to locate and adopt open educational resources through the Open and Affordable Textbook (OAT) Initiative. To learn more about the OAT initiative, please review the OER Researchguides or contact Ray Vasquez, or the OAT Team at

OER is a response in education that seeks to provide an alternative to the rising costs of education, typically textbooks. The high cost of textbooks can be a substantial financial burden for students. The average cost of textbooks exceeds $1,200 annually for undergraduate students (Kopf, 2015).

In a 2012 study, 65% of students reported opting out of buying textbooks, and 35% take fewer courses due to textbook costs (U.S. PIRG). As textbook costs continue to rise and publishers limit access to digital content, an information economy is created that is detrimental to students. This problem is likely to escalate in the future.

OER provide an opportunity for faculty to try new ways of teaching and learning that are more collaborative and participatory.

Research review by John Hilton, BYU

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Open Textbooks Adoption Directly Impact Student Success

Adoption of OER and Open Textbooks

Introduction to OER: A Tutorial by OpenStax CNX - A self-paced introduction to open textbook adoption.

What Are the Impacts of Adoptiong OER? by Lumen Learning

Seven Things You Should Know About OER, Educause

Fast Facts: College Textbook Costs and OER, Open Textbook Network and SPARC

Open Education Fact Sheet (SPARC*)

New Jersey Institute of Technology 
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