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Open Educational Resources: Overview

Open Educational Resources

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 - orginal 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.

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

Research review by John Hilton, BYU


Open Affordable Textbook Initiative @ NJIT

The OAT Initiative at NJIT 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, is launching this initiative to increase course affordability using low-cost open educational resources. More about OAT Initiative.

Academic Year 2017-2018 Awardees and Projects

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*)

Open Textbooks Adoption Directly Impact Student Success

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