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Open Educational Resources (OER): Getting Started with OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

"Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." -- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

In short, OER are educational materials that are openly licensed, customizable, and free to access online.

Textbook costs have risen 812% - 1,041% over the past three decades. Consequently, 65% of students in a national study did not purchase textbooks and 82% of students agreed that free online access to textbooks would help them do “significantly better” in their courses. Open Educational Resources (OER) offer a solution. 

OER Benefits

For Faculty:

  • OER support academic freedom. Faculty are not locked into publisher platforms or the rigid structure of a commercial text.
  • OER are openly licensed, so faculty can modify OER content to make it more accessible, inclusive, and tailored to student needs.
  • OER support open and engaging teaching practices.
  • OER are easily integrated into Moodle and into courses regardless of teaching modality.

For Students:

  • OER save students money. Textbook costs have risen. When students cannot afford their textbooks, nearly two-thirds of students will opt out of buying their textbooks.
  • OER contribute to student well-being by eliminating anxiety around course material affordability.
  • OER are freely available online to all students on the first day of class, providing equitable access to course content and positively impacting student success and retention.
  • OER provide students with unlimited, permanent, and portable access to course materials. OER can be accessed online, accessed on any number of devices, and downloaded, printed, and retained indefinitely.

The OER Experience

Associate Professor Hilary Martens discusses her experience using OER in her courses. She discusses the benefits of OER, shares a sampling of student testimonials, and offers practical tips for finding open textbooks, other written resources, and open images.

Get OER Support

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Wendy Walker
Digital Initiatives Librarian/Associate Professor, Mansfield Library