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Open Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials, such as textbooks and supplementary materials, which are made available using an open copyright license that allows for free use and adaptation.

Why use OER?

The primary driver for adopting OER is usually based on cost. Surveys and studies show:

  • Textbook price increases have outpaced inflation.
  • Students will choose not to buy a textbook because of the price, even when they think their grades will suffer. 
  • Students experiencing food insecurity are even more likely to forego buying textbooks and access codes.

Impact of Textbook Cost on Academic Progress

Source: 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey Results and Findings by Florida Virtual Campus

There are also non-financial benefits to OER.

  • Academic freedom
    • Using openly licensed textbooks allows the instructor to adapt the material. Textbooks can be reorganized, rewritten, etc.
  • Better engagement
    • Examples in texts can be changed to be more diverse and better reflect the experiences of the students. 
  • Student success
    • Studies have found equivalent learning and lower withdrawal rates in courses using OER.
  • Equity and social responsibility
    • ​​​​​​​Using free materials demonstrates a commitment to equitable access.

For further information, please visit the sites listed below.

OER Myths

Adapted from: SPARC (2017). OER Mythbusting. Washington, DC: SPARC.

The original work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.