Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Research Librarian

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Billy Tringali

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?

  • Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research objects that are licensed and made available so that they are free to use and repurpose
  • OERs are typically internet-based, but there are no platform restrictions.
  • OERs take many forms, such as textbooks, course materials, scholarly articles, images, videos, etc
  • OERs often use Creative Commons licensing that allow users to engage in the 5R activities

Why use OERs?

Improving Access to Education by Lowering Costs: 

Adopting Open Educational Resources (OERs) in place of the traditional text(s) is one way to combat prohibitive materials costs, and improve equity and inclusion at our institutions. 

Textbooks can be prohibitively expensive for some students, and those students who cannot purchase the required text face greater barriers to success than their counterparts who are able to afford it. This affects the equity in our classrooms, and our ability to create inclusive environments in our institutions.  

Innovation and Remixing:

Aside from saving costs for students, OERs offer faculty the opportunity to be innovativecollaborative, and creative in their course design

Faculty have the opportunity to redefine traditional learning by incorporating multi-media, and go beyond the confines of “teaching to the book”. OER can take many forms, such as: syllabi, lesson plans, videos, software, tests, teaching techniques, group activities, writing prompts, textbooks, learning modules, experiments, simulations, and course designs. OERs are licensed with Creative Commons, making it possible to not only reuse their content, but revise, remix, and/or add onto to meet different needs.

Additional Ways to Lower Costs

While library resources are not, specifically, OERs, they still represent a great way to help lower course costs. Consider doing any of the following:

  • Choose a library licensed eBook with appropriate Digital Rights Management (DRM).  Not sure about a resource's DRM?  Contact your library liaison.
  • Link to articles available through existing library subscriptions.  Locate articles using Horn's single search and contact your library liaison for assistance.
  • If using cases in your class, check out which case resources add no cost for students.
  • Choose an Open Educational Resource (OER).
  • Select materials and create a custom course pack rather than requiring students to purchase multiple books.
  • Put copies of your course text and any required readings on reserve in the library.
  • Let students know as early as possible what texts will be required, so they can shop around for the best deal.