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OER: Faculty Guide to Open Educational Resources

An introduction to openeducational resources

Why OER?

"Open Educational Resources" (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation." (UNESCO).

Traditionally published textbooks and educational materials are subject to copyright restrictions, which do not allow them to be modified or reused in other contexts. With OER, students and instructors can re-use and re-purpose the materials not just during the class, but in the future as well.

Reduce Student Financial Burden

Textbooks can be prohibitively expensive for our students, especially those who rely on grants and student loans to attend. The 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey found that 64% of students have not bought a required textbook because it is too expensive, and 42% have registered for fewer courses due to the expense of textbooks.

Improve Access, Boost Success

Many students rent their textbook from the campus bookstore or compete with other students for access to the library's reserve copy.  For those that do purchase textbooks, many attempt to regain their money by selling the books back to the bookstore or online after the course is over. OER and other low / no-cost alternatives can get learning materials into students' hands from day-one.