"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.
Textbooks can be prohibitively expensive for our students, especially those who rely on grants and student loans to attend. Fixing the Broken Textbook Market, 3rd e., found that 65% of students surveyed in 2020 have not bought a required textbook because it is too expensive. Negative impacts on students' basic needs include students working extra hours, skipping meals, and missing bill payments, in order to afford their course materials,
Access to coures materials is not equitable. Many students skip buying course materials, rent their textbook from the campus bookstore, or compete with other students for access to a print copy on reserve at the library. For those that do purchase textbooks, they may selling the books back to the bookstore or online for a fraction of the original cost, after the course is over. OER and other low / no-cost alternatives can get learning materials into students' hands from day-one, and help create a more equitable change of success, regardless of a student's financial situation.
SJU faculty who are interested in exploring openly-licensed options for their courses can contact their liaison librarian for support.