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Open Educational Resources: Overview

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

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 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 include digital learning material such as:

  • open textbooks, full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, games, simulations

Why Open Educational Resources?

OER provides an alternative to the rising costs of education. 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 on Open Textbooks Adoption Having a Direct Impact on Student Success

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