Open Educational Resources (OERs)

What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?


"Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER can be full courses, course materials, lesson plans, open textbooks, learning objects, videos, games, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge."

-SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

  1. Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Why use OERs?

Laila Le Guen #whyopen brainstorm

Benefits for Faculty Benefits for Students
  • Increases student retention and improves student performance by reducing costs
  • Promotes academic freedom to modify or add content to your course
  • Can support your Scholarship of Teaching & Learning portfolio
  • Increased availability of research means greater impact in the field.
  • OER are free to access online and can be purchased in print at a low cost
  • OER can be accessed before, during, and after a course
  • Stay up to date on research in your field after graduation at no cost.

What are the impacts of adopting OER? Check out this impact calculator from Lumen Learning to see how using OER materials can increase student success.

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.